Many clients have evolved and now look for solutions from their professional services firms, not just technical advice. If the pandemic has highlighted anything, it is that clients are now also looking for genuine understanding and empathy from their advisers.
Part of building a better understanding includes asking what’s changed for your clients on their journey with your firm. Even if you have conducted client listening programmes last year, you can be sure that much has changed for clients recently as a result of the pandemic.
When looking at the client journey, some firms jump straight to evaluating the available technology, but this is not always the best starting place. Leveraging technology will almost certainly form part of your end solution; however, people interactions, processes and systems are more important to consider as you start out.
As a first step, we recommend conducting voice of client interviews which would reveal much about a client’s journey in the greatly altered world – their new fears, changed frustrations, different needs and aspirations. Speaking to clients directly, especially now, could also provide invaluable ideas and suggestions on ways to improve service delivery and interactions with your firm. What hasn’t changed is that issues raised by individual clients need to be addressed quickly.
Client interviews often reveal systemic patterns; that is, several clients may be frustrated or concerned by the same or similar issues. If this type of intelligence emerges, then it is really worthwhile drilling further into each step of the journey of your key clients, and then mapping your client journey from beginning to end.
Defining the challenges and pain points clients face collectively follows next ie the firm-wide issues that each client experiences. It’s important not to make assumptions, or to let (sometimes defensive) internal voices drown-out the voice of your clients. In our experience, these types of firm-wide issues can go on to inform future strategic planning or result in major skills development programmes.
When looking at data gathered as part of client listening initiatives, it’s important to remember that you won’t always need to throw out all of the more traditional ways of service delivery. Sometimes, a process will be working well and simple improvements to what you already do – for instance, by streamlining some steps in that process – may be the best solution.
However, at some stage, you will likely arrive at the point where you compare existing processes with technology solutions. This is a good time to also be considering the way you think about your clients and their businesses. For instance, asking if more can be done to expand the thinking of legal teams, helping them to go beyond client service delivery and more into the realm of the business aspects of clients, with a view to seeking opportunities to strengthen connections.
If you identify suitable technologies to adopt, always keeping in mind new and emerging client needs and expectations, you may need to define completely new ways of doing things. Which in turn will mean addressing the challenge of online skills development to ensure people use the new system and that the anticipated benefits are realised.
The benefits from listening closely to clients and truly addressing their changed needs, will be long-lasting. Firms that line up with the changed client journey and connect with their clients directly will be more resilient, become known for excellence, and will standout from the pack. Client listening is also a practical and genuine demonstration of empathy. Understanding of and alignment with the changed journey of your clients can become a true point of difference.
We would be delighted to hear your thoughts and continue the dialogue with you. We hope you’ve found this Insight to be constructive and thought-provoking. We share comments and ideas of a general nature, with the aim of helping firms contend with current challenges. As such, the content above is unlikely to be complete and comprehensive enough for a firm to re-imagine the future. Rather, it may be a beginning or a conversation starter, as each firm is different and the challenges each face are unique. If you would like to continue the conversation, then please connect with us for a confidential conversation at click here.