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September 12, 2012

15 Ways to Focus on the Client Experience

I had coffee the other day with an old friend, Clint Smith, Founder of EMMA (, one of the Southeast’s fastest-growing technology firms and provider of one of the top email marketing platforms on the planet.  I’ve been a client of theirs for almost 10 years.

After catching up on our families and life in general, we started talking about what specific things were happening at our respective firms.  Clint’s comments were all around one topic – the customer experience.

The on-going focus for he and his team is all about adding to and tweaking little things on his email platform with the goal of making his software easier to understand and easier to use – thus providing a better overall use experience.  And superior performance keeps clients coming back.

Do you think about your firm and the services you provide in terms of your client’s experience?

If not, here are 15 ideas to help get you started thinking about them in that way:

  1. Do you respond quickly to project inquiries, bid requests, etc?  Nothing upsets clients like unresponsiveness.
  2. Is your invoicing clear and easy-to-understand… and above all, accurate?
  3. Do you ever just “check in” with a client… just to see how they’re doing?  Remember, people don’t care how much you know – until they know how much you care.
  4. Does each client have a single point of contact for everything… or do they have to hunt down different people for different issues?
  5. Are your PMs and PDs empowered to make decisions without having to get “senior management” involved?
  6. Are your reports easy to understand?  Are there good visuals to support the content?  It’s not an issue of the quantity of words – but rather the quality.
  7. Do you visit your clients – not only to work with them, but to enhance your relationships?  It’s important… people do business with people they like.
  8. Do you share good information – articles, white papers, etc. – with your clients?
  9. Is there an on-going training program in place for your project staff?  There’s nothing worse as a client than being assigned a PM who just doesn’t “get it.”
  10. Does senior management get involved… to show your clients that they are important to your firm?
  11. Do you take advantage of technology to speed up communication and project management?
  12. Do you survey your clients after every project?  Your ‘asking’ shows you want to get better… their ‘answering’ tells you how.
  13. And if a project does go badly, do you have a way of responding that still makes your client feel good about having selected your firm?
  14. Do you communicate regularly with your clients during the execution of a project so there are no surprises at the end?
  15. Is the final presentation delivered in a manner and at a time that benefits them and not necessarily you?

There are probably a hundred other things we could add to this list.  The key – like with Clint at EMMA – is to always be focused on improving/enhancing the client experience.  Do that… and you’ll be giving yourself a strong competitive advantage.

What did I miss?  What things would you add to the list?

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