With a virtual Valentines on the cards this year, we look at the top ways to show your professional services firm clients that you genuinely have their best interests at heart. Just like personal relationships, client relationships are built gradually over time, based on meaningful interactions that build trust. Let’s take a look at some of the top ways to deliver real value to your clients this Valentines.
1. Give them a call
When is the last time you asked your client for a catch-up phone or ideally video call, with no particular agenda? Make the call about better understanding their top business and role-focused priorities. Really listen to their concerns and challenges with a view towards reflecting and reverting on how you can add value to them.
2. Surprise and delight with superior service levels
A key priority for any professional services partner is to consistently deliver excellent service levels. Are you clear and fully aligned on your client’s specific expectations of you and your team? Globally, 55% of customers have higher expectations for customer service than they did just one year ago*. Do you know how your clients expectations of you have changed and if you’re meeting them?
3. Ask for feedback
Do you really know what your clients think of you and your team? 80% of service providers believe they are delivering a superior customer experience, only 8% of their customers agree**. When have you last asked your client to participate in an independent client feedback discussion? Clients will take time to give feedback because they care about your success and the value your team provides them. Asking for feedback shows that you respect the views and opinion of your clients.
4. Listen and act on it
If someone asked you for feedback and didn’t listen or act on it – what would that mean for how you treat the next request for feedback? Having absolute clarity on what clients specifically value about what you deliver, and on how you can improve, can be a transformative lever for client relationship development and ultimately account growth and profitability.
5. Open up your network
Who in your network can you introduce your client contact to, that would be of real value to them? What introductions can you help facilitate that would be a win-win for both parties. This could be a client or contact of yours in a similar role facing a similar commercial challenge, or a subject matter expert who can share relevant experience and insight with your contact.
6. Solve a business challenge
Can you run a workshop focused on helping your client to explore their top business challenges? You will need to personally invest time in thoroughly understanding the issues outside your core area of technical expertise in advance of the session. It may also involve meeting with firmwide colleagues in other specialist areas to assess if they might be able to attend and provide relevant insights and ideas.
7. Reward loyalty
How often do you tell your clients that you appreciate their business? Do you reward their loyalty? Loyal clients buy more, stay longer and recommend you and your business to others. Do you give them exclusive access to new insights that are directly relevant to their business? Where applicable, have you explored how you could incentivise them to do more business with you in a way that would also deliver real value to their business?
8. Tell them what you think
Have you shared a truth with your client that’s in their best interest, or in the best interest of their business, even if this means walking away from an immediate revenue opportunity for you? Having the confidence to act with integrity will help build strong mutually beneficial and trusted client relationships over the long-term.
9. Spend quality virtual time together
Just because you can’t invite your contact to a face-to-face social event doesn’t mean you can’t still attend a virtual event together. Treat your client to top international webinar/ virtual event that would really add value to their role or business challenges. Catch-up in a one-to-one video call afterwards to discuss how best to implement the learnings.
10. Help grow their business
How can you help grow your client’s business? Can your firm share an interview, podcast or guest blog that would really help showcase and promote their business. Can you invite your client to share his/ her insights at a virtual/ hybrid event that your firm is hosting. Again strategic collaborations like these, present multiple opportunities to create deeper client relationships.
The Customer provides sales consulting, training and coaching to ambitious professional services firms and their leadership teams. To discuss how to take your client relationships to the next level, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or explore more at www.thecustomer.ie
Photo credit: Lucas George Wendt