Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Wrong Reason for Client Satisfaction Programs

Taking care of clients is pretty much like taking care of a spouse or significant person in a relationship. If you really care, what you do comes from your heart -- not an instruction manual.

Yet, so many firms (lawyers and marketers) miss the opportunity to really connect with their clients because they wish for client satisfaction to be a process of actions, and not actions based on desire. If you want to be really connected to your clients try not to do or be any of these things:
  • "We'll have to do this to keep them" - If you are going through the motions they already know you care more for yourself than them.
  • "If our competition is doing it then we should too" - If you act based on your competition you are already behind.
  • "Our competition isn't doing it and we could use it in our marketing" - When you are focused on what your competition is doing you are not thinking about what your clients really want.
  • "They're talking to our competition" - Again, your competition should never effect what you're doing to help your clients.
  • "This won't cost nearly as much as finding a new client like them" - O.K., now you are just being silly. A great client is worth whatever it takes if you care about their business. Cost is a separate P&L discussion.
  • "We'll look good" - No, you won't. Clients know when you are faking it and sucking up. How about just taking care of what needs doing.
  • "I need the firm to show them I care" - If you need your firm to step up and do what you should have done you are just lazy and looking for an easy way to fail with someone else to blame.
I know there are so many wonderful accountants and attorneys totally focused on doing the right thing for their clients and people. The thinking illustrated in the list above is only an indicator of why failure might be happening more often than can be managed.

Sincere care for people (your clients) cannot be taught in schools or seminars. It's learned by example and mentoring. You have to teach it, evangelize it, tolerate nothing less -- the reward is the stuff of remarkable careers.