Listening to Our Clients So We Can Deliver a Great User Experience

Listening to our clients and working partners is a key element of how we deliver high-quality work and achieve our mission. That’s why we established the Client Listening Program (CLP).

The Voice of the Client

RTI’s Client Listening Program (CLP) improves our clients’ experience by letting us step back from the day-to-day work and ask for client feedback throughout the life of the project. These conversations help us better understand how it is to work with us from the client’s perspective, looking at what is working well, and where we need to do better. By actively listening and following up, we gain valuable insights into a client’s needs, which in turn allows us to deliver a better overall experience.

RTI’s CLP has become integrated in how project leaders manage their projects. Across RTI from April 2019 through the end of fiscal year 2020, RTI project leaders initiated 1,235 client surveys, representing 77 percent of RTI projects participating, with a 44 percent client response rate and a 56 percent documented follow-up rate.

CLP data shows positive results in client feedback scores. In every category RTI averages at minimum “Slightly Exceeds Expectations,” indicating a baseline level of excellence across the institute. Ninety-six percent of the ratings were “Met Expectations” or higher."

Positive Comments From Clients
  • “Great organization, timely information, depth of information.”
  • “RTI help us think through difficult questions, always in a supportive, positive way.”
  • “I've worked with a lot of teams and RTI's team has been the best I've worked with. They're always responsive and always meet bumps on the road with positivity and a level head.”
  • “All concerns or questions are taken seriously. Follow‐up is timely.”

RTI's Client Listening Program establishes a framework for timely feedback, course correction, and learning.

Testimonials From RTI Project Managers

“It’s been highly beneficial for us to meet with much greater frequency in the first couple weeks of the project to really dig into what the client was hoping to get out of the project, what their objectives and expectations are, and to help manage their expectations about what we are able to do with cognitive testing, what we can tell them at the end of this in case there is non-alignment at that point. This kind of conversation and approach to understanding client objectives has been really important for this program because they have all of these different projects on very short timelines, seven weeks from start to finish.”

“Feedback from the CLP surveys is literally feedback coming directly from our clients, and our RTI leadership pays attention to it. Our client has been very generous in providing critical feedback on areas where we can improve. That has included everything from the way that we communicate, to how our contracts are set up, to the specifics we use to measure the quality of our technical work. And we’ve taken their feedback really seriously over the last few years. As a result, our relationship to the client has evolved to the point where they see us as a trusted partner and we are really given the first right of refusal on work that they could easily send to another contractor.”

“In sending the client listening survey to a new client, the client acknowledged that the project had a really tight schedule and they had some ‘unspoken anxiety’ that we would not be able to keep to the schedule. As the Project Director, I was able to take that feedback and say ‘This is something we are paying close attention to, and we see it's a concern of yours. So let’s add a check-in at each of our meetings, specifically looking at the schedule, and confirming the extent to which we are on track.’ I was grateful to hear their unspoken anxiety via the Client Listening Program and be able to address it directly.”

How Does the Client Listening Program Work?

Project leaders ask for client feedback targeted to key points during the project, when the client has something to comment on, such as after the kickoff or the provision of a key deliverable. The brief questionnaires are designed to take 2–3 minutes on average to complete. While the feedback process is fast, the impact is long-lasting. This feedback helps us focus in the right areas, identify where we are doing well, and identify where we need to work differently to ensure that we are delivering excellent value consistently.

CLP By The Numbers (Fiscal Year 2021)

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Number of surveys sent to RTI clients

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Response Rate

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% of projects that have sent a survey

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At “Met Expectations” or above

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Above “Met Expectations”

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Net Promoter Score


2021 Premier Award for Client Satisfaction

RTI International was again recognized for the work staff do to create great experiences and outcomes for our clients. The Premier Client Satisfaction Award is based on multiple client feedback engagement and results factors, including reply rate , follow-up with clients, Net Promoter Score, average score, and frequency of low scores.


2020 CX-cellence Award and Premier Award for Client Satisfaction

In 2020, RTI’s Client Listening Program was awarded a Client Experience Excellence (CX-cellence) Award for our “innovative, client-centered mindset, which enables project managers to better strengthen business relationships,” and a Premier Award for Client Satisfaction for “demonstrating a commitment to giving clients a voice as a means to deliver excellent service, and confirmation from clients that service was, indeed, excellent.”


2019 Premier Award for Client Satisfaction

RTI International is a winner of the PSMJ Resources/Client Savvy 2019 Premier Award for Client Satisfaction. This prestigious designation is the only industry recognition that uses empirical data, research, and analysis—not subjective methods or opinion—to identify services firms providing the very best client experience.