The ability to listen to and understand your client’s needs is an essential element to any successful marketing activity within professional services. Therefore, everyone involved in a client service team has a potentially essential role to play in picking up on what those needs are, how they are changing and as a result what opportunities there are to build the client relationships further. How confident are you that everyone on your team has the ability to ask the right type of questions, and to understand the opportunity that lies within a question asked by the client?
Bruce Jones from the Disney Institute in his recent article* suggests that at least once a day a guest will ask “What time is the 3 o’clock parade?”. He suggests that, rather than giving the simple answer, that this customer question can be answered in such a way as to deliver a better customer experience. In Disney’s case this could be, as described in the piece, telling someone who asks the time of the parade where the best view of the parade is, as well as the time it starts.
Does your organisation ask good questions? Does your client feedback programme ask questions that return more than a simple “yes”, “no” or a rating score? Do you give clients the opportunity to ask you questions, and how do you answer?
An independent, systematic client listening programme should be seen as a key element of any client relationship strategy, and a key way to make sure that the firm is truly listening to its clients.
Effective client feedback is about more than simple questions and answers; it can also be the pathway to better communication with your client. To truly unlock the value available from client feedback, firms need the rich data that may be available from a telephone or face to face interview conducted using open questions. These allow the client the space to answer in a way that reflects their state of mind. The nuances in a client’s response can give true insight into the firm’s position with the client and point to any action required to makes sure that the relationship is as strong as it can be, as well as to point to opportunities to provide new services or to draw out common themes that can further guide overall messaging and strategies.
*Harvard Business Review: the opportunity hidden in customer questions February 9, 2016