Building and Managing Client Relationships:

With Directors David Gardner and Nik Clarke

At Morrison Design we pride ourselves on having numerous long-standing partnerships with our clients – we’re speaking to Nik Clarke and David Gardner, Directors at Morrison Design, about the secret formula that keeps clients come back again and again.

Talk us through the process from that first contact with a client

Nik: “We start with a face-to-face meeting, we’re always approachable and easy to talk to which helps! We see new clients as quickly as we can and from the outset start really getting to know them and their business.”

Dave: “We have a director led approach – so every client has one of the three of us to speak to directly. They know they can just pick up the phone to us and we always know what’s going on and can make a commercial decision there and then.”

Directors Nik Clarke (left) and David Gardner (right)

What does that initial client meeting look like?

Nik: “We start gathering information from the very first enquiry and this ramps up as we get appointed to the project. We have a RIBA briefing document where we log all the information we need to get started.”

Dave: “In the kick off meeting itself, we gauge who they are, what they’ve done so far, what their business is and what happens now. We dig into the target audience, their current processes, what’s working and what can be improved so we truly understand their business before designing a space.”

Point A Hotel exterior photograph
Point A, Dublin

How do you build trust with a new client?

Nik: “It comes over time. We deal with challenges without any drama – we take them off the client’s hands and just deal with them. Again, the director led approach means they can just pick up the phone and talk to us directly.”

Dave: “When unexpected challenges do arise, we go back with solutions. We will never go to a client with a problem without a well thought through solution or two to fix it.”

Nik: “Being honest and transparent is just who we are and how we work – in fact, being honest is one of our core values. We know the client’s budget so any hurdles in the project are handled with that in mind. We understand hotels inside out, so we realise that any delays impact on revenue.”

Dave: “Another big factor is that we’re a down to earth, easy to speak to team. We don’t go in with a huge sales pitch and we don’t use jargon people don’t understand. We give an honest assessment of the job the client wants doing and how much it will cost, along with options more in line with their budget if their initial ideas aren’t quite feasible. We have a huge amount of respect for each individual client.”

How do you manage expectations?

Nik: “It goes back to how we build trust – honest and open lines of communication, knowing they can pick up the phone to us and we’ll know what’s going on. We provide the facts and give them options if we have any challenges so we can chat things through.”

So, why do they choose Morrison Design again and again?

Dave: “The level of service we give is excellent. We’re consistent with our service level and many of our team have been here for years so the team really know what they’re doing. We have a proven track record of designing and delivering mind-blowing spaces and have built up relationships with some of our clients over decades of projects together.”

Let’s finish on a client testimonial

Nik: “We’ve been working with Andrew and his team at Morley Hayes for over 20 years and have partnered with them on the redevelopment of most of their leisure site in that time. We’re very grateful for his kind words.”

Morley Hayes Hotel, Derbyshire

Andrew Allsop, Managing Director of Morley Hayes: “We continue to invest in our hotel, restaurant, function rooms and golf facilities, ensuring we maintain our high standards and 5* guest reviews. We’ve partnered with Morrison Design for many years and they continually demonstrate their deep understanding of our business and what our guests wish to experience when they visit us. This knowledge, paired with their vast experience in hotel and hospitality architecture, means that they’re a perfect local partner for us. The quality of the service they provide has always been outstanding and we’re looking forward to many more projects with them in the future.”

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