The foundations of strong client relationships

Acritas research consistently shows that a collaborative approach to building client relationships is one of the most potent factors powering professional services firm growth across the world. Through extensive interviews with senior members of professional services firms, we have compiled these proven techniques for building – and eroding – client relationships.
 

 
Acritas’ Dos and Don’ts of Getting Close to Clients
   

 
DO
 
 
DON’T
 

Clearly identify your client

Invest in gaining in-depth knowledge of their sector, niche, business, internal structures, teams and budgets 

Overpromise

This tactic may impress initially but it is rare that the firm’s learning curve can keep pace with the expectations of a client who has been ‘oversold’

Be honest 
 

Especially about your capabilities versus client requirements and demonstrate how you will overcome any weaknesses

Go over budget without warning
 
The ultimate no-no for clients struggling to keep within intense budgetary constraints

Share knowledge
  
Internally – about clients’ needs and preferences

Externally – about solutions you have seen other clients use to solve problems

Fight clients’ procurement processes
 
These are often in place to help suppliers and advisors. Failing to follow the rules sends signals that you are not in tune with the client viewpoint

Be flexible
 
Accommodating clients’ needs and preferences will help win their satisfaction and loyalty

Ignore clients’ views
  
Client feedback is gold dust – so good or bad, act on it and let the client know you are acting on it

Be emotionally intelligent
  
Learn to read the signals that clients give off about their satisfaction with your service – it will keep the relationship alive

Waste clients’ time
  
Everything should be seen from the time and budget-poor client perspective. If your plans don’t look good in this light, think again

Think sideways
  
Identify ways in which you can act differently to help your client solve their problems, save time and money

Treat clients like cash cows
  
Clients all know that the firm’s ultimate aim is to make money – but don’t make them feel like that’s the case

 
 

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