As the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in your firm, have you seized the opportunity to influence your clients’ end-to-end relationship with your firm?
I hope the answer is a resounding YES because your organization and your team will give you superhero status if you have (well, they’ll at least thank you). I’m sure I’m just scratching the surface of the benefits to your marketing team with this list:
- Decreased burnout and proposal fatigue = Less turnover on your team
- Higher win rates
- Increased marketing efficiencies (i.e. Lower cost to marketing) = Higher Net Bottom Line Profits
- More testimonials
But there’s so much more. Let’s take a look at just a few of the benefits to your firm overall:
- Increased negotiated contracts vs bid (or proposal-based)
- Increase Brand reputation and awareness
- Higher profit projects
- More time to focus on Macro-Level Strategy
- Increased cross selling opportunities and referral portfolio
The role of the CMO continues to evolve and you are in a key position to take a real leadership role in your organization’s success. Not long ago, it used to be that marketing was primarily responsible for the definition and stewardship of the brand. And that remains key. Benji Sawyer, Sawyer Solutions, shared at CXps 2019 that one of his key takeaways from the event was:
- How important having a brand promise is,
- Ensuring your clients know what your brand promise is, and
- Making it a priority for everyone in the firm to intentionally deliver on that promise.
Connection with clients and prospective clients is at the heart of both marketing and client experience. But connection can mean different things to different people. Part of seizing the opportunity to ensure your efforts deliver increased loyalty, share of wallet and quality referrals, is designing an intentional CX-centric mindset and making it a priority in your firm. Having an intentional CX-centric brand will make the connection that drives results.
Your CX brand doesn’t have to be complicated. It does need to be consistent across your entire firm. Client Savvy has worked with over 450 A|E|C firms in the past 16 years to do just that. One of the simplest first steps to take is to optimize your clients’ experience working with your firm. In this blog, I’ll focus on this critical first step in doing this and the impact doing so will have on your entire team.
Optimize your clients’ experience
Let’s start with what optimizing your clients’ experience does not mean. It does not mean doing whatever your clients ask even if what they ask for doesn’t benefit them, is not feasible for your team, or makes no financial sense to your firm. It does not mean changing everything about the way you deliver your services to your clients or adding lots of extra warm and fuzzy steps to the process.
What optimizing your clients’ experience does mean is understanding what about your firm’s service delivery matters most to your clients. And, recognizing that what matters may be slightly different for each client based on their priorities. How do you get this information? I’m sure I’m stating the obvious. Listen to them. Your clients will tell you if you ask them. What may not be as obvious is how you listen to them. As important as check-in phone calls are, often these calls are focused on specific aspects of your current engagement with them. They are not the opportunity to get intel on what associated with your service delivery or brand promise is most important to them. They likely couldn’t tell you in that moment if you asked them!
So, how can you get this information that will separate you from your competition? Implement a Client Experience Management (CXM) program in your firm starting with a client listening program. A client listening program is an intentional way to ask your clients how well your service delivery process at various milestones in the project is aligned with their expectations based on their understanding of your brand promise. The outcome for your firm, client intelligence (data) that allows you to allocate resources for greater financial reward, increase client loyalty and reduce commoditization, and increase share of wallet as you successfully deliver more of what each individual client most desires. Measurement of outcomes is critical to any effort to achieve desired goals. When was the last time you set a goal for yourself and did nothing to measure progress? You wouldn’t. Neither should your firm.
Who else is impacted?
I mentioned above that if you, as the CMO, seized the opportunity to influence your clients’ end-to-end relationship with your firm, your whole team would thank you. Here are just a few examples of how optimizing your clients’ experience benefits your whole team.
Project / Client Managers:
You’ve probably seen it. A new initiative is rejected before it has a chance because project / client managers assume it will mean more work for them. Already feeling at capacity, they struggle to see the benefit because all they can see is the extra work.
Being able to tell them that you will provide them data that lets them customize each client’s experience just by focusing on what the client values most (of what they are already doing), makes you a hero! Now instead of adding extra work to their already busy schedule, you’re given them data that allows them to reprioritize their efforts.
And, don’t forget to tell them that by focusing on what their client values most, they can let go of some processes that their clients don’t really value (assuming they are not essential to the outcome), which will increase their project profits and drive more repeat work.
Business Development / Sales:
Your team has a strong knowledge of your firm’s brand promise and they work hard to introduce prospects to the advantages of working with your firm. What if you were able to provide them with numerical data from your existing clients to support that promise. When you optimize your clients’ experience by listening to them, your business development team knows what matters most (to the majority of your clients), and they have hard data to prove it.
Your clients will be talking to each other about your firm’s consistent brand delivery and how much they enjoy working with your team. This increased brand awareness in your industry lets your business development and/or sales team focus on macro-level strategy including cross-selling opportunities which increase depth of relationship with the client and drive increase share of wallet.
Chief Financial Officers:
Yes. Optimizing your clients’ experience will get your CFO excited too. I’m not saying your CFO only cares about profits, but I think it is fair to say it’s in the top two. When your team is focused on what is most valuable to clients based directly on what clients are telling the firm, invoices will be paid more promptly, there will be fewer write-offs, and more robust contracts as well as increased share of wallet. This outcome is confirmed by a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) which reports that 73% of those responding said that their experience working with a firm is key to their brand loyalty decisions.
The data speaks for itself
I’m sure you’re ready to email me to see how Client Savvy can help you get started with your Client Experience Management (CXM) program. But just in case you need some statistics to convince those around you. Take a look at these numbers from a recent Forbes article:
- 84% of companies that work to improve their client experience report an increase in their revenue.
- 73% of companies with above-average client experience perform better financially than their competitors.
- Client-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers.
- Loyal clients are five times more likely to increase their spend with a company and four times more likely to refer a colleague.
- Companies with initiatives to improve their client experience see employee engagement increase by 20% on average.
Let Client Savvy help you design, implement, and measure your Client Experience Management strategy. I look forward to connecting with you. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a time to speak with one of our Client Experience Management experts.