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If you manage a professional services firm, or any projects for a firm, you have most likely seen numerous reports, charts, and other data measuring the financial performance of your project, team, client, or firm.  You have surely seen metrics of profitability, revenue, aged accounts, and more, usually mapped across an axis of time (monthly revenue, for example).

However, none of these reports show the critical element of the client’s perception of a project’s success.  What may be highly successful for you (in terms of profits, etc) may have been a disaster for the client.  Without metrics showing the clients’ measure of project success, you have little ability to identify the truly successful projects, those that are “half way”, and those that are complete failures (or, at the very least, quite challenged).

The missing axis of data is feedback.  Feedback provides quantitative metrics, from your clients’ perspective, about the success of a project.

If we map feedback performance on a vertical axis, and financial performance on a horizontal axis, four quadrants of information are created.

In the upper-right quadrant, the data points indicate a win-win scenario.  The outcomes of these projects indicate success for both you (high profit) and the client (high feedback).  You can profitably produce a project that meets and exceeds the expectations of the person paying for that project.  Clients in this quadrant should be nurtured and efforts invested to keep this healthy exchange going forward.

In the upper-left quadrant, the data points still indicate success for the client (high feedback), but the process used to deliver the service hasn’t adequately obtained financial success for you or the firm. Inefficiency, under-billing, or other business problems may exist.  Most likely, these clients whose expectations were exceeded are very interested in keeping you as a vendor, and will likely be open to future projects being priced and/or scoped more beneficially for you.  Test this carefully, but with confidence.

The lower-right quadrant provides a bigger challenge.  Here, you have succeeded (high profits), but your client indicates a less successful outcome for them (low feedback).  These clients and projects are critical to keep (they’re very profitable!) but need attention invested into the client relationship.  You may use additional feedback collection (either via the Client Feedback Tool or personal interactions) to uncover underlying problems and negotiate winning solutions.  Increase service consistency and quality, and you can more easily maintain these enjoyable profits.

Finally, the lower-left quadrant leaves a group of mis-fits.  Here, neither you (low profits) nor the client (poor feedback) won.  You have a lot of options, from firing the client, to strategically working on these clients to first increase their feedback scores.  Only after first building client loyalty and improving service can you then recoup that investment by increasing fees and profitability.  The “keepers” in this quadrant should be diligently moved “up” before moving them to the “right.”

Client Savvy’s VoC tool (Client Feedback Tool) offers a unique feature enabling you to map your client feedback against your financial metrics. Give us a call at 1.866.433.7322 to learn more.