Many books and articles have been written advocating the importance of client care in the A/E/C industries. However, the literary shelves are barren when it comes to offering advice on how to create a customer-service mindset that is firmly embedded throughout your organization.
An effective client service program focuses attention on customer service throughout the project life cycle. Developing a formal client service program is a strategic decision by top management that requires commitment of resources and changes in behavior. The payoff? Your clients will reward you with repeat work, increased revenue, and an industry-wide reputation for excelling at client care. A customer-centric brand is a strong differentiator for any firm. This article provides steps to create a client service program that will put your firm at the top of your client’s list again and again.
Understanding Some Basics
Your firm’s top client is another firm’s top prospect. With technical capabilities of most firms being equal, one thing can distinguish a firm from the competition—their customer service.
We tell more people about a bad customer service experience than a good one. The same theory applies to the A/E/C industries. Missed deadlines, untimely responses, and sub-quality deliverables will erode the trust of any client. Many clients will never tell you what went wrong with a project—they just quietly disappear. Even one misstep can cause a firm to lose thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because it is far more expensive to develop a new client than to care for an existing one, it makes economic sense to develop your staff—from the receptionist to the project manager to the accounting department—in the mindset of “client first.”
This article, written by Diane B. Landers, Ph.D, MBA, CPSM, first appeared in the April 2019 issue of Marketer. To read more, download the full article.