We asked 200 clients of professional services firms in New Zealand how they evaluate an adviser’s performance. The answer overwhelmingly came down to ‘was I well advised?’
Clients specifically evaluate:
- The outcome/result they achieved
- How effectively their adviser(s) worked with them and their extended team
- The cost of the work versus the benefits derived from that work
- The timeliness of the advice
- The adviser’s understanding of their business, goals and values.
A number of people interviewed (typically in larger organisations) said they evaluate performance by going through a contestable process (typically an RFP) every few years.
In order to build client loyalty, it’s imperative that you understand how your clients will evaluate your performance on each j0b you do for them.
- Finding out what your clients’ goals are for the project / matter, and what they need from you, by when, at the outset.
- Asking them how they will evaluate your performance up front.
- Ensuring you manage their expectations throughout the process – if you can’t deliver something when you said you would, tell them at the earliest opportunity. If the scope of the work changes or costs look likely to escalate, tell them early so that you can work together to agree a way forwards.
- Conducting an end of project review on all major projects as well as on a number of smaller ones.
Understanding what’s important to your clients on each matter/project is vital if you are to retain and grow your relationship with them.
By understanding and managing their expectations throughout the process, and by regularly benchmarking your performance, you will be able to tailor your approach and service to each client – building trust and loyalty.