Client experience isn’t about personality—it’s about process.
“CX ultimately is the emotional response a client has to any interaction with your brand,” says Ryan Suydam, co-founder of Client Savvy, which helps professional services organizations design effective customer experience strategies.
To elicit a positive emotional response takes thoughtful and careful design. That design should drive change and accountability throughout the organization, then be measured both internally and externally to make sure you're getting a good return on your investment of time, money, and effort.
Feedback is fundamental. Notes Suydam: “If you don't know where you are with your clients, it's hard to know where to go next.”
How to collect the most useful feedback?
Surveys. Most surveys “are selfishly designed to fit some dashboard or metric somewhere in a corporate boardroom,” says Suydam, but clients aren’t “generic, transactional customers.” This is an industry with high-touch customer service. Make it comfortable for people to provide candid feedback. For example, ask questions that help measure progress and focus on discovery rather than scores. Use collected insights to react and respond to clients, letting them know they were heard.
Timing. It doesn't do any good to respond to clients after the project is complete, which is why most clients want to give feedback to the project manager—the person who can change things if necessary—along the way.
Creating the best client experience also involves work inside the organization.
Do you have a unifying vision? When it comes to your strategic plan, tie key objectives to client experience so employees understand the link between that experience and business outcomes. Help them see how that link will enable them to be more efficient—as Suydam says, “to win more work with less pursuit.”
“This gets people excited, aligned, and engaged,” he adds.
Also, don’t underestimate introverts within your firm. While being warm, kind, and personable are all useful personality traits, Suydam insists that “even the most hard-nosed, introverted rationalist can be an amazing client caretaker.”
It all comes down to an ability to co-create value.
To do that most effectively, ask these two questions: What is it our client really wants? And how do we as an organization deliver that better than anybody else?