Having company values that centre around the customer is imperative for the professional services industry.

Solicitors, Accountants and professional advisors rely heavily on building trusted, long-lasting and respectful relationships. And given that the majority of their new work comes from either existing clients or recommendations, it is key to align your business culture around client service and retention.

Focusing on your customers or clients may sound like a pretty obvious and straightforward process. However, it can be so easy to get caught up in other aspects of running your business, (such as compliance, financial targets and people management) that you can lose focus on your company culture.

In this blog, we share 8 ways in which you can build a customer-focused culture within your professional services firm. You may be doing these things already, but hopefully, they will give you some inspiration on how to maximise your current activity or highlight what you could do with improving for the year ahead…

“Customer service shouldn’t just be a department; it should be the entire company.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

1. Give your clients face-time

The pandemic opened up new ways of communicating with clients and made distance irrelevant to who you could work with. Whilst this was a fantastic opportunity, which continues to save time and creates a more convenient and slick process, It does mean that clients are lacking face-to-face time with their advisors. Talking in person builds rapport, encourages back-and-forth communication, feedback and builds stronger relationships. If you aren’t already, then look at your diary and replace some of those Zoom meetings with a real-life coffee.

2. Collect Feedback Regularly

Listening to what your clients have to say will give you invaluable information on how you can improve your services, communication, approach or processes. Whilst many solicitors or accountants will ask for feedback once a matter or project is finished, this doesn’t help address any issues at the time they occur or give you the opportunity to salvage an unengaged client. Consider using surveys at various points from instruction to completion. It is important that feedback is not just collected, but is reviewed, communicated and acted upon.

3. Make Client Satisfaction a Metric

Are you measuring performance based on new business? Time-recording? Meeting financial targets? Consider including other metrics to measure performance such as the number of client reviews, client feedback, client referrals, survey results, complaints etc. Not only can this be a great motivator, but it will encourage your team to actively seek out useful feedback and push for online reviews, which can boost your website traffic and new enquiries.

4. Lead from the Top

If it is clear that client service is the top priority from the Managing Partner and Heads of Departments, then it is more likely to trickle down to all fee-earners and support staff. Ensure that your entire business is about customer service, not just your client-facing positions. Make sure leaders are vocal and visibly championing a customer-centric mindset.

5. Share Your Company Values

Many businesses come up with some core values, straplines or mission statements and stick them on their website, never to be revisited again. If you truly want to build a culture of taking care of your clients, then your values need to be central to everything that you do. This means that they should feature in your new staff onboarding, your strategy days, team building and team meetings.

6. Put Yourself in Your Client’s Shoes

In order to truly have a customer-focused culture, you need to first and foremost understand who your clients are. A good way of pinpointing who your ideal clients are (and there may be more than one type) is to create ‘buyer personas’ or ‘customer profile’. Please see our comprehensive article on “The What, Why and How of Buyer Personas” for more information. Essentially, you need to consider their demographics, what their challenges are, their interests, how they like to be communicated with etc. so that you can resonate and build better relationships.

7. Invest in Training

Ensuring that everyone within your business holds the skills to deliver excellent customer service will help your business meet its objective of being client centric. The ability to manage expectations, have great telephone manner, communication skills, handle difficult conversations and identify opportunities can guarantee that whoever a client deals with, gives the same high-level of service. You can foster a sense of ownership and pride among employees in delivering excellent customer services.

8. Use Technology to Your Advantage

Whether it is an automated email for feedback, a chat-box to help clients stuck on your website, or an all-singing and dancing CRM system that can segment your data, there are many ways that technology can help you create a smooth process that compliments your client focused values.

Building a customer-focused culture is an ongoing process that requires dedication and consistent effort. It involves aligning all aspects of your organisation toward the goal of delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Want to find out more?

There are a number of ways that you can align your marketing strategy and tactics to your customer focused values. If you would like to explore how we can help push these messages through to your ideal clients and introducers, then please get in touch.

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