As many of you will know, improving client service and implementing really good client relationship management can take a long time – years even – not least because it’s a cultural and mindset change as much as it is about setting up the right processes.
From experience and from talking to peers about their experience, here are some things which make a difference:
- Be clear about, and share, the business drivers that are behind improving ‘client service’ – both what can happen as a result of this and what might happen (is happening) if you don’t
- Engage with staff and make sure communication with them – face to face and via email or other ways – is clear and often. This needs to be a two-way dialogue. Create a story – why should we care, how will this improve our business, what do we all need to do.
- Discuss and agree what great client service means in your business – both in terms of process and behaviours – for everyone.
- Set expectations about staff behaviours – and link to roles/responsibilities and appraisals. If possible, create and link roles/expectations to a set of values for firm from which approach to client service stems.
- Board and senior management approval and endorsement is crucial.
- Engage with HR and finance and other business leaders – ‘client service’ issues will impact on them too either directly or indirectly and so their input in the project, their help with the change and their advocacy is important.
- Provide help and support where needed – tools, workshops or training, coaching
- Follow-up plans and actions agreed regularly – keep each other to account to make sure action plans are actioned!
- Set up a regular process for gaining client feedback, a combination of face to face meetings, on-line surveys, telephone interviews, even consider mystery shopping. Use that feedback to drive continual improvement in client service and ensure it is also shared with others in the firm.
- Make this one of the business’s top initiatives for retaining and increasing fee income – not one of 20. Promote it as such.
- List all the barriers to make client service great. Pick the 3 you think are the most important. Brainstorm solutions as to how to overcome them and integrate into your plan.
- Celebrate successes and progress.
© Bluegreen Learning Ltd