Experience drives differentiation and engagement.
If you’re a professional services firm, chances are you have a group of top clients you work with. They pay you on time, your mission and values align, and they appreciate what you do. If only you could get more work with them. If only you could have a larger share of their wallet. Even better -- get more clients just like them.
Provide an Experience
Think about it from the perspective of a client. What would make YOU spend more of your money, time, or resources with a particular company, service provider, or store? Chances are they have to provide more than just a product or service.
An EXPERIENCE that speaks to your wants and needs, delivered at the right time in the right way makes a lasting impact. Companies that provide consistent, outstanding client experiences are preferred over those that are just providing commodity products and services.
In the age of Apple, Amazon, and NetFlix, we expect a company to meet our needs, that’s “table stakes.” It’s the companies that really GET US and provide personalized solutions that GET MORE of our business.
I think about this when it comes to coffee shops because I frequent them. I currently have three top picks in the Atlanta area, but one of them recently increased their share of my wallet coffee budget). When I began going to this coffee shop, they were #2 and #3 on my list – they all had a great cappuccino.
Know Your Customer
One day, I asked for something specific the others couldn’t (or wouldn’t) deliver on – a custom-sized beverage that wasn’t on the menu. They not only made MY dream beverage the exact way I asked for it, but they told me how to order it from future baristas to ensure I get the same drink every time, and they continue to deliver. Now, I rarely go anywhere else.
The difference? They were no longer just giving me a standard cappuccino (something every coffee shop SHOULD be able to produce with ease), but an experience I hadn’t received from their competitors – one that made me happier, and my life easier and better.
While retail establishments can’t customize every experience for every customer, professional services firms can, and should! We have longer-term and more consistent relationships with our clients. Listening to them, responding to their needs, and providing an exceptional experience every time gives us a significant opportunity for growth.
Are you taking advantage of the opportunity?
Ask, Listen, Learn & Apply
When is the last time you went to your top clients and requested measurable, tangible feedback on the hard and soft skills your firm is providing? Then you gathered, measured, and used the data to make their projects and lives easier?
If it’s been a while or being done inconsistently through casual conversation, we recommend you consider implementing a more formal, consistent, and measurable feedback process.
Once you learn what your clients want and expect, you can design a custom experience around their feedback. This results in more business with the clients you love (a.k.a larger share of wallet) because you make it EASY, convenient, and efficient to work with you.
You become their service provider of choice, and a team they can’t imagine being on a project without. THAT is the goal. Furthermore - they are so delighted, they tell all their industry friends and colleagues about you – leading to referrals with clients who are like them. It’s a win-win!
So, how do you do this? Here are a few ways.
- Get to know your clients and customers, by asking for measurable and tangible feedback early and often. This can be done through an electronic feedback tool, an online survey platform, in person interviews, or another method. Use this feedback to prioritize and start well-documented conversations. Analyze this data, evaluate low and high scores, and make a plan of action.
- Find out what clients value most about your services and deliver in those areas exceptionally well. Where are you consistently performing well? What are the common positive comments? Focus on your strengths and use them to design the client experience your firm will consistently provide.
- Identify challenges and concerns early in the project lifecycle, before they become significant. Review and address challenging feedback and/or low scores. Get to know your clients so well that you proactively offer solutions before your client realize they have a problem that needs to be addressed. Evaluate where your low scores and opportunities for improvement are.
- Listen for how else you can help (cross-selling made easy!) Listen for additional needs, wants, challenges, and goals and align them with your firm’s capabilities. Your client is likely not even aware of all the services your firm offers. Listen to client needs and ensure your team is prepared and equipped to share how you can help. This is a cross-selling opportunity or a service from a complementary partner of yours. It saves clients from having to search for another service provider. You are make their life simpler and easier while increasing revenue for your firm.
- Use a combination of the above, design an exceptional experience for your clients, based on THEIR feedback, a.k.a their expectations, perceptions, needs, and wants (which you now know) and not your assumptions. Save the “nice to haves” for after you deliver the “need to haves” accurately, efficiently, and easily, every single time.
- Operationalize and systemize this process. Develop a client experience playbook or procedure for your team to follow, to ensure consistency and accountability.
Have a plan and process to gain deeper insights into your client’s perceptions. Gather, analyze, and apply data to create an exceptional experience for your clients. Customize solutions for your clients. You will win more work with them and more referrals from them.
When you do more work with clients aligned with your firm’s mission, values, and strengths, your team can:
- Focus on more work with the right clients versus just getting more clients
- Charge more for the exceptional experience you provide with the data to back it up
- Have more effective and efficient communications
- Reduce employee burnout
- Increase marketing and business development efficiency
Client Savvy has helped hundreds of professional services firms design, measure, and implement client feedback and experience programs. We would love to work with you to do the same. Contact us to learn more, or click the button below to chat with a client experience expert today.