Is your client service up to scratch? 10 questions to ask yourself right now

The below is an article I wrote for the ifa magazine, reproduced with permission

As the world warms into 2021, you’re probably not 100 per cent “back into the grind” of client work right now. This offers many of us a precious opportunity to step back from our “business as usual”, and reflect on what’s going on, so we can then decide what will be different inside our business during the coming year.

Before you decide what projects you and your team will commit to in 2021, I’d like to plant a few seeds for you to “ponder on”, especially if your client experience is something that needs a bit of work.

You see, most businesses realise that their client experience is the heart and soul of their business, but the best businesses realise that there is no “destination” when it comes to improving it. The client experience of the past year becomes the expectation of the next year, so in order to consistently exceed your client expectations, you need to find a way to keep raising the bar.

So, what specifically needs to improve within your client experience right now… Is it your team? Your systems? Your processes? The answer is probably “a little bit of everything”. Given there are many interconnected, moving parts in your client experience, it can be hard to know where to start in forging towards a more remarkable and repeatable experience for your clients. This uncertainty often leads to “analysis paralysis” i.e. the place where great intentions and ideas go to die.

The secret isn’t necessarily to think big. Often, it’s to think small. The best businesses I see and work with don’t focus on making enormous, all-consuming efforts towards improving their service. They narrow their focus to specific areas of improvement and commit to implementing consistently over time. As a result, rather than trying to do everything all at once and making slow or no progress, they execute strongly, then move onto the next priority. This consistency becomes the foundation of strong, sustainable business growth.

To help you choose your first client experience focus for the year…

Use the below list of questions to get the cogs in your brain turning in the right direction:

1. Are your clients clear on the progress you helped them make during 2020?

2. Are your clients excited about what you’re working on together now and what you’ll be working on next?

3. Service delivery aside, do your clients feel cared for, valued and appreciated?

4. While you may be attracting new clients, are you attracting the right type of clients?

5. Is the essence of what makes your business special being reflected online?

6. Does your client service remain rock solid no matter how busy things get or who’s on leave?

7. Is there a part of your current process that drags on way longer than it should?

8. Are simple client tasks way harder than they should be?

9. Are your team clear on what the priorities are for your business, and committed to contributing towards these?

10. Are you nervous about whether your clients will continue to pay your fees or not? If so, what do you think clients aren’t getting from you that they should be getting?

“Cool list, Michael – but now what?”

Get a team consensus about which of the above is the biggest problem. Solve that one first, or if you’re doing this alone, which question made you feel the most uncomfortable? Start there.

This could (and should) be the best year yet for your clients and their relationship with your business.

How are you going to make it so?

Michael Back, founder and business coach, Human to Human