From the Architect's Desk
In roughly 2008, I attended one of the best professional conference presentations I’ve ever heard. It involved a speaker introducing the concept of “FUBB—Follow up Beyond Belief.”
As a type “A” person, perhaps I was already doing this but did not know that it had a name. This transformational acronym now encompasses everything that I do and try to incorporate within my small firm. Yes, we are a “Design” Firm, and DESIGN (in all capital letters) is what we are known for. But we are also part of a service industry. And in service industries, you must FUBB.
The concept, as described in Communication by Design: Marketing Professional Services by Joan Capelin, is simple: The way we conduct ourselves with our clients and our relationship with them is an investment–it is what they will remember about us, and recommend us for, far beyond the building or design itself. Yet too few service professionals put this into practice. I like to believe that this may be the single most important business concept I follow; by practicing FUBB I get new clients, keep talented staff in my office and have maintained a successful business (even through the ups and downs of the economy) for well over 25 years.
At every point of contact, I believe that we should follow up. I endeavor to follow up on what I say, what I promise and what I do. I verify that the client’s request or question was answered, that my email was received, that my voice mail was picked up and understood, that my client’s voice mail is returned promptly, that the drawings were finished as promised. It is not enough to say I am going to do it, I make sure it is done, then I double check. I FOLLOW UP BEYOND BELIEF.
This concept also holds true in the everyday tasks of running a business, like paying bills, sending invoices and taking care of employee or governmental forms and requirements. Did the bill get paid? Was the invoice or proposal received by the right person? Was it clear? Are there any issues? Was the employee’s family health insurance form correctly filled out and sent in to the right person? Are they covered?
I know that these sound like little things, but they are not. I believe that to be successful in this profession one must FUBB every day, in everything we do. I certainly try.