Trickle down the lane: Truly connecting with clients helps everyone
Client satisfaction is a phrase many organizations use, but many struggle with the best ways to put intentions into action. It seems obvious, of course, because we all want our clients to be satisfied with the services we provide. Many firms use NPS scores and surveys to measure how they are faring, and identify areas where they can do better. But to truly understand client satisfaction, it takes much more than simple metrics and quick-hit surveys. It takes honest connection.
At Intapp, we discovered that we needed to take this route, as well. In our collective experience, we noticed that when we directly and genuinely connect with our clients — understanding their true needs and helping them follow their most successful path — they are then, in turn, able to do the same for their own clients. It’s a game of trickle down the lane or, as some may call it, paying it forward. Whatever you choose to call it, true client connectedness is critical if you really want to create satisfied clients that help your firm prosper, too.
So how do we go about creating client connectedness? It can’t just be a survey, or an annual thank-you card; it’s a process that must be present from the first client touch to the final engagement outcome. In my new role as Chief Client Officer, we have created an initiative to focus on engaging our clients in a more holistic way. Here are some tactics we’ve put into action:
- Create an external listening path for each client touch point. Someone in the organization should have very regular conversations with each client to assess their level of satisfaction. It’s good to ask, after each touch point, “Did we reach out to the client proactively, or did they have to chase us down?” Recommend follow-up discussions with each client to go deeper, and keep your ear to the ground as to any occurrences with them — and make sure everyone’s concerns are being heard.
- Partner with your client. When you hear that your client wants to do something different or new in order to grow its business, check in to see how you can help. The outreach may not mean immediate business for you, but you’re helping them solve an important problem, and that will have lasting effects on the relationship. The client will feel like you’ve got their back, even when it’s not immediately serving your own firm’s purposes.
- Be authentic and sincere, especially when there are problems. It’s easy to be genuine when business is going well, but it’s even more important to be sincere when the going gets rough. If your client is not returning calls or is skipping virtual check-ins, there’s a problem. You should immediately take action — with empathy and an honest desire to fix the issue, no matter what it may be.
- Empower people in your organization to say “yes”. Too often, the person in charge of working with the client has not been given any power to do more than simply talk. Giving front-line staff the authority to make decisions will help the client feel heard and appreciated. No client wants to wait two weeks to hear an answer to a question.
These efforts will have outsized effects on your clients’ satisfaction and the positive ways they connect with your firm. Firms that create an organizational environment that tightly focuses on client satisfaction from a genuine partnership standpoint will reap the benefits downstream. As the saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”