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Client Intimacy 22

The first commandment of marketing is Know thy client! Client research is the key to knowing your clients. And the better you know your clients, the more successful you are likely to be in meeting their needs along with your own.

Four concepts capture what today’s clients want: faster, better, cheaper and their way. There is no mistaking the message. The firm that can shave delivery and turnaround time, provide better quality, and tailor its services to the client’s precise needs is a firm to be reckoned with.

To gain an insurmountable edge on the competition, add one more dimension: first-class client care. It pays to provide outstanding client satisfaction (not just service) as part of the package you present to clients. In today’s service-sensitive, service-focused, service-centered economy, firms that offer high-quality client satisfaction keep clients 50 percent longer, have 30 percent lower business development and marketing costs and have about 12 percent higher net profits.

In concept, delivering quality satisfaction is simple:

  • Make sure you know what clients want and expect of you
  • Be flexible in meeting those demands
  • Treat clients like partners rather than adversaries or end users
  • Make it easy for them to do business with you

This mission is easier to talk than walk. But you can make a go of it if you listen and understand your clients’ wants and needs, respond effectively to clients’ evaluations of their experiences with you, and discern what your clients will want in the future, which calls for an intimate knowledge of your clients’ wants, needs, and expectations.

Knowing your clients intimately means more than research. It means listening to, understanding, and responding to your clients’ evolving needs and shifting expectations, and often in unique ways. It means knowing their business so well that you can anticipate problems and opportunities, and work together on solutions and strategies. So, listening and responding to clients must become everyone’s business.

How can you foster the kind of intimacy that creates long-term loyalty among clients? Start by seeing client matters not as a random collection of experiences, but as relationships built on trust, knowledge, caring and experience.

Clients are no longer shapeless, featureless, mass markets. They are specific, narrow groups with their own unique personalities and views of what constitutes quality service. What clients want, how they want it, and how they do or don’t get it, add up to a service-satisfaction index that determines whether they’ll continue doing business with you. You need a rich, constant flow of fresh, timely information about your clients and how they view your services today.

Jeff Wolf

Jeff Wolf is one of America’s foremost executive business coaches, speakers and management consultants. In December 2010, prestigious Leadership Excellence Magazine named him one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders for his accomplishments in leadership development, managerial effectiveness and organizational productivity. His strategic focus on solving corporate and human issues has garnered continuing raves from myriad global organizations. Jeff can be reached at: (858) 638-8260 and jeff@wolfmotivation.com.

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Filed Under: Featured StoriesPractice Management

About the Author: Jeff Wolf is one of America’s foremost executive business coaches, speakers and management consultants. In December 2010, prestigious Leadership Excellence Magazine named him one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders for his accomplishments in leadership development, managerial effectiveness and organizational productivity. His strategic focus on solving corporate and human issues has garnered continuing raves from myriad global organizations. Jeff can be reached at: (858) 638-8260 and jeff@wolfmotivation.com.

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