A dream come true for professional services firms and their clients.

Are you like most professional services firms where change orders are a pain for you and your clients? Learn how one client used feedback and an intentionally designed experience to eliminate change orders while driving revenue growth.

Client Success Story

We recently learned a client was sending more change orders than others in their space. This was causing problems for their clients and for the professionals on their team. In the middle of their engagement, response to a feedback survey indicated the client was very irritated, yet had not said anything to their relationship manager.

They set up a meeting with the client to discuss challenging feedback. Every time the client received a change order, there was a ton of bureaucracy and approvals they had to go through. Change orders were a major hassle. They found that the clients were happy to pay more if it meant not getting a change order or at least not as many.

What They Did

  • Mapped out their business development and proposal process for all clients and prospects.
  • Standardized communication strategies based on the findings in the survey and empathetic thinking.
  • Created a “define your success” meeting for all current clients and made that meeting part of onboarding new customers.

How Their Business Model Changed

  • Shifted away from the low-price business model.
  • Suggested higher contingencies in lieu of change orders.


  • Our client has captured a much higher share of wallet from their strategic clients.
  • Received a high rate of referrals from existing clients since making their lives easier.
  • Doubled win rates since implementing their communication strategy.
  • Increased Net Promoter Score (NPS) 10 points.
  • Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) increased by 7 points.

Key Takeaway

The firm asked; the client told; the firm listened. Most importantly, the firm took action and designed, implemented, and measured client experience for all of its clients.

This firm has moved beyond being a “low price” provider to being a “price certainty provider” by providing a consistently superior client experience.

Can you remove the pain of change orders with a contingency that will eliminate the need for change orders? If you can, doing so will make your employees, and your client's lives much easier, safer, and better.


Pricing your work at a premium is smart business based on the data we’ve gathered on pricing over the years:

  • Only 3.7% of buyers think fees are too high (and that number drops with high value/high price firms)
  • 54% of buyers are more worried about capital/operating cost impacts than your fees – this is higher since COVID
  • 58% of buyers believe their service provider delivers far more value than charged
  • 6% of all work done for clients is “waste” – cost born by the firm that provides no/marginal value to the client.

Know Your Client

To take advantage of this knowledge, you need to know which of your clients feel this way. If you know your client abhors change orders, do what you can to eliminate them. If a client is consistently reporting that you are over-delivering against their expectations, are you giving away too much or not charging enough for your scope?

In another instance, a fixed-fee buyer ($5M/year in fees) asked for some out-of-scope work. A $3K invoice for additional work frustrated the buyer. Rather than just writing off the invoice, the firm recognized the opportunity for deeper conversation.

The buyer made it clear that, once the budget is set, any changes are a pain to process. To "never see an unexpected invoice again," Scott, the buyer, asked the firm to increase the fixed fee for next year by $100,000. Most of the $100,000 accrued to the bottom line the following year as there was so little out-of-scope work.

The next time you’re responding to an RFP or writing a proposal, ask yourself, better yet, ask your client, “would you be OK with a higher contingency if that would eliminate change orders?”

Would you like to learn how to eliminate change orders at your firm? Client Savvy can help you better understand your clients’ perception of the value you’re delivering and much more. Click the button below to talk to a client experience professional.

Ryan Suydam

Ryan Suydam co-founded Client Savvy in 2004, to help firms create fierce client loyalty by designing, implementing, and measuring client experiences. He has coached nearly 700 organizations and over 30,000 professionals on the skills required to be “client savvy.”

Subscribe to Our Blog

Page Contents

Hungry for knowledge?

Exceeding Expectations - Customer Experience Management
“Exceeding Expectations”: Why You’re Wasting Wins With an Empty Promise
3 Steps to Activating Your Firm's Net Promoters
3 Steps to Activating Your Firm’s Net Promoters
10 Benefits of Customer Feedback for Professional Services Firms
10 Benefits of Customer Feedback for Professional Services Firms