With so much continued uncertainty about the next few years of economic activity, every business should concentrate on what it is good at and do it well. For a professional firm, this means that it needs to ask its clients why they chose the firm to provide a service for them over its competitors and more importantly, why they continue to use it.
Such questions will produce a lot of important information about:
- what went well and why the client thought that
- what could be improved and why
- areas where the client felt that too much information was provided
- areas where there was too little information
- tone and preferred type of communication
- time delays that could have been avoided
- information the client would have liked in advance
- what other support could have been provided.
Having asked clients these questions, it is important to respond to them in a tangible way so that they can see that they have been listened to. It is possible to do this in such a way as to reduce operational costs at the same time as improving client satisfaction. To manage change positively it is important to concentrate only on changing those aspects of your service that clients have told you that they do not consider essential to their choice of using your firm. For example, it is important to routinise those parts of handling a piece of work that the client does not actually see, such as generating pro-forma documents. Firms need to be building client loyalty with the result that direct contact with clients should never become ‘impersonal’. With every change you make, it is important to find ways to improve clients’ service experience, rather than reduce it.