When thinking about a good customer experience, an evening in a London restaurant came to mind when on the face of it everything went wrong: a mix up with the booking, a long wait at the bar, a fire at one of their produce suppliers meant many menu items were unavailable... the list could go on. But how did the maitre d’ handle all this? With charm, humour and sincerity, making us laugh with incredulity that so much could go wrong for one couple on one evening. So with drinks and dessert on the house, we left with fond memories. We’ve been back again since and recommended it to friends. Illogical? Not at all.
Good customer or client experience is not about perfection, not just about the functional elements of service; it’s about how it makes you feel. It's how you are treated on a human level.
In most businesses, defining a consistent and valued client experience is your greatest opportunity to stand out. Clients increasingly have access to more information giving them more choice and are affected by a wider range of influences, becoming more discerning with rising expectations. It’s no surprise then that reviewing and improving the client experience is high on many companies’ agendas. And so it should be.
Delivering a consistent and relevant experience at every touch-point, every day, requires employees to feel a very personal and genuine affinity, understanding and commitment to the experience you collectively strive to deliver. To do this sustainably, the culture and nature of internal interactions must match those conducted externally with clients. Culture and experience align; driven from the inside out. From the top down and the bottom up.
The need for a framework
For smaller businesses and firms, this tends to happen organically - founding partners define the culture and experience based on their own character, ambitions, personal principles and values. However, as a business grows, a framework or strategy is typically necessary to crystallise what’s most important to and unique about the firm and its beliefs. This is not about cultural autocracy; it’s about empowerment. All employees must feel informed, empowered and motivated to think, act and adapt to the changing needs and expectations of the marketplace and of clients. And the need to be flexible, to innovate in your service design, delivery and experience is becoming increasingly urgent to meet the accelerating changes affecting the professional services sector.
Ask yourself does your culture have strong foundations? Is it driving a consistent and competitive client experience?
If not, it may be time to start thinking about what you could do to ensure that clients return to your firm, time and again.
Part II of this blog feature will focus on how law firms can create the frameworks that help build stronger client relationships.
Zoe Tisdall is Brand Client Director and Fiona Burnett is Brand Consultant at integrated creative consultancy Emperor. For further information, Zoe can be contacted at: [email protected].