In professional services there is a recognition of the importance of client service delivery to build the firm’s reputation, retain clients and grow the business. The challenge is that clients are not just judging the deliverables, but also the entire experience and the quality of the relationships formed. Firms are under increasing pressure to meet growing client expectations and to do so more efficiently, enabling the business to become more profitable. All of this is coming at a time when the uncertainty of Brexit can mean the difference between survival and growth.
To ensure that the business achieves excellence in client service delivery, organisations need to holistically look at all the elements that form part of the client journey. In professional services the organisational culture, leadership, staff and processes underpin client service delivery. Addressing any of these areas in isolation will not deliver excellence. It is only through an integrated approach that connects each element of the client experience that these performance drivers combine to deliver excellence in client services.
A client centric culture
The culture of the firm has a huge influence on translating the ideals of service delivery into a practical execution of delivering value to external and internal customers. Yet culture is one of the hardest areas to drive change. At Empathy, we believe a firm’s culture needs to be informed and built around client insight, incorporating their perspective of the service experience and how their needs may change in the future. This insight enables firms to be proactive in innovating service design and delivery. In our experience, collaboration is a prerequisite, underpinning a true client partnership in which the focus is on client value, whether that is delivered through internal resources or external partnerships.
Leadership to empower teams
Building a client centred culture requires the leadership of a firm to demonstrate their commitment to client insight, innovation and collaboration. This requires a growth mindset, where leaders are passionate about the success of their client’s business, as an enabler for their own firm’s growth. We advocate that this requires an alignment, where leaders empower and develop their teams to design and deliver client excellence and recognise and reward team commitment.
Streamlining processes for efficient service delivery
Service based businesses need established processes to ensure repeatability and consistency of service delivery and back office functions. However, these processes frequently introduce unnecessary administration or bureaucracy. Introducing lean practices and agile delivery methodologies is key to eliminating wasteful, inefficient processes and increasing the productivity of the organisation as a whole.
The business imperative
It is widely quoted that it is six times more expensive to win a new client than to retain an existing one. By developing a commitment to achieving excellence in client service delivery, a firm can successfully grow their business and increase their profitability. In our experience, firms that have developed a culture of customer insight, collaboration and innovation, driven by leadership focused on client success and supported by efficient service delivery lay the foundations for sustainable business growth.