Businesses are searching for incremental ways to expand their value without having to incur additional investment costs. A great place to start is by reimagining how your client engagement process can create greater client loyalty.
We recommend adopting a five-stage process so you can become a firm of choice to all the stakeholders you serve.
This model encompasses client acquisition, onboarding, workflows and performance, as well as relationship management. The objective is to increase the lifetime value of the clients you serve while creating a culture where employees are more engaged and invested in the outcomes.
To provide the needed context, let’s explore each stage in further detail.
Client acquisition — The process, tools and activities utilized to attract and win new customers with greater regularity. By embracing the new norm, it is easier to engage subject matter experts across your company who otherwise would not be involved. Take the time to leverage all dimensions of your human capital capabilities to better position and portray the enterprise. This is a great development step, and it drives higher levels of employee engagement.
Client onboarding — The process to engage, educate and integrate so business can be conducted in an efficient, client-friendly manner. At this stage, capture critical client intelligence about how you can make it as easy as possible to conduct business with your company. Ensure you understand how the customer wants to interact and capture the relevant input into a CRM system.
Workflow — The essential interactions that are conducted to satisfy timelines, budgets, deliverables and expectations associated with matters important to the client. This area is being disrupted as more historical touchpoints are becoming automated and streamlined. Be mindful of reducing the number of noncritical interactions to achieve greater efficiency for those you serve.
Performance management — The proactive monitoring and validation of client satisfaction based upon the firm’s performance. This is a huge area of opportunity to both get feedback and establish joint goals to achieve. In so many dealings, no pre-agreed KPIs are established and, as a result, it becomes more qualitative of an assessment. Do not leave either money or goodwill on the table when you meet or exceed expectations. Create a dashboard of distinction and take credit for your accomplishments.
Relationship management — The intentional execution of companywide activities that foster trust, loyalty and brand affinity. In my experience, the vast number of enterprises that serve privately held companies are not professionally trained in key account management discipline. Make it a point to establish guidelines for what constitutes your relationship management practices and make sure the client understands its role as well. This is another area of opportunity to establish clear expectations throughout the client lifecycle. Do not leave it to chance and have it result in higher cost to service realities, misaligned expectations or lower lifetime values.
We recommend that you begin by focusing on one or two areas while keeping in mind the broader end-to-end process. It is amazing what you discover and the incremental, as well as quantum, strides realized that will contribute to the value creation of your enterprise.
Marc Rosen is co-founder of The Client Experience Institute™