Clients are the most important assets an organisation has. Their satisfaction and trust in the service you provide are the key and must be understood as they define your business and the direction your organisation will move in the future.. After researching many studies on client satisfaction and their benefits in the professional services industry, we conducted a study in June 2021, to quantify the benefits of client satisfaction surveys and their importance to seniors and partners. In this survey, we asked people to rank, in importance to them , the six main benefits of bespoke clients satisfaction reviews, and we received some very interesting results which can be read HERE.
The main benefits listed, in order of preference, are:
#1 Performance Appraisal:
Client satisfaction surveys allow managers to know that their work and performance is both recognised and valued at both a macro and micro level. For leaders positive affirmation and reference to specific actions (gained through reviews) can help them guide their team members to improved performance through appraisal. Client feedback is especially important because it increases morale, encourages good work and helps provide a sense of purpose, and it grants them the confidence to go out and experiment with their way of conducting business.
David Lamont, Head of Marketing at Blandy & Blandy Solicitors, believes that recognising hard work and dedication, through positive affirmation to motivate colleagues, should be a normal practice in the professional services sector. According to Lamont, organisations may choose to acknowledge and encourage high performance by operating various reward schemes internally, to highlight individuals who exhibit the firm’s values and demonstrate exceptional performance. He explains that this is a successful practice at Blandy & Blandy, where detailed client feedback is captured alongside testimonials and anecdotal feedback, and shared internally every month to ensure that colleagues are recognised for their excellent work.
#2 Increasing client margins:
Increasing client margins means reducing costs towards serving your clients. This does not mean you reduce the investment you put into your clients, but rather to the unnecessary costs which arise due to miscommunication, lack of trust and poor relationships. A client satisfaction survey allows organisations to systematically solve the client’s source of dissatisfaction while the problem occurs and address them pro-actively rather than wait till the end where the client has gained disutility and risks leaving the firm for poor service. According to Kriss (2014) from Harvard Business Review, better experiences don’t have to cost more, rather, they help reduce the cost of not only serving your clients but also reducing overall costs of finding new clients due to higher retention rates and increased loyalty.
#3 Increasing share of Client wallet:
Increasing share of Client wallet refers to an increase in the total amount a client puts forth for your practice in relation to your competitors. The multi-disciplinary nature of professional service firms has blurred the lines of delivery, opening up more services to competition or opportunity. Now the Venn diagram shows a huge area of cross over. However partners and seniors, are often unable, due to lack of time and understanding, to recognise opportunities. A bespoke Client Review can help to recognise potential areas for demand currently satisfied by competitors and latent demand. Conversation lines in a review can be as simple as “I see you use two other law firms, can we discuss what you use them for and what in particular you like about them”. To complex conversations around their challenges for the next or the challenge presented by AI.
#4 Improved Processes:
Change within a practice is driven by ‘what your competitors are doing, what your team think and most importantly what your clients think’. A systematic approach to client satisfaction reviews always deliver guidance for process improvements. During client reviews some of the simplest questions can have the biggest outcome for your practice. “Is there anything we do that doesn’t meet your standards?”, “What changes would you like to see in our service?”. One sector head in an accountancy firm candidly said “we’re great at creating lists of things we can do to improve. When clients make the suggestion they actually get done!”
#5 Reducing client risk:
There are many risks attached to your clients. Losing them, overspending on production, spreading of unresolved dissatisfaction and unprofitability amongst your clients. A process of bespoke reviews does not only give your client base a platform to voice issues which they cannot voice with partners, as the relationship is too close. But reviews also build trust, the confidence to ask through an external agency ‘how are we doing’ brings firm and client closer together. When this process of communication is triggered, clients are more invested into the company and the relationship built and feel valued that they prefer your organisation over competitors. It is also important to reduce client turnover because of the rising costs of acquiring new clients. According to statistics, across most industries, cost of acquiring new clients is five times as much as retaining clients. Not only this, retaining clients also increases ROI. A study found that a 5% increase in retention rates leads to approximately a 90% rise in profits over a few years!
#6 Gaining referrals:
Referrals are one of the best ways to gain new potential clients. The lead comes from someone that you already have rapport with. Some of this rapport and trust is transferred to the new relationship, allowing you to close the deal faster. Studies show satisfied clients tend to buy products more often and develop loyalty to a particular brand. They often spread the word by recommending products and services to friends and family as an informal referral process. Customer satisfaction surveys give firms specific information about positive and negative perceptions, which could improve marketing or sales efforts. These perceptions are especially important because of the increased use of social media by people of all ages. Angry customers can use unfair criticism and untrue statements to harm a firm’s reputation. Repairing the damage or countering false representations could prove costly. A study conducted by SmartSurvey came to the conclusion that satisfied clients who feel empowered are more likely to react positively when the topic of referrals is raised. This means that the simple act of asking their opinion builds trust and increases the probability for gaining referrals. Articles on Hubspot also point to using client satisfaction as a tool to prove yourself worthy before approaching your clients for referrals.
We have listed the benefits in this blog, talked with industry leaders and conducted our own surveys to reach the conclusion that client satisfaction surveys need effort to be undertaken along with a ready mind to face whatever feedback you receive to improve your business.
Have YOUR say on the importance of the benefits by filling out our survey HERE.
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