Satisficing or satisfying? – Take care with client care and relationship management

Posted on: March 16, 2010

You need to take care with client care and relationship management.

Long ago when I studied economics I was intrigued by the idea of satisificing – (combines satisfying and sufficing) a decision making strategy that attempts to meet the criteria for adequacy rather than an optimal solution. Others might think about it in terms of doing the absolute minimum to get by.

And what does this have to do with the professions you ask?

Well, the markets are picking up and everyone is getting busier – which is great. However, having pared down both professional and support staff to the very bone many lawyers, accountants and surveyors are at risk of satisficing their clients’ needs rather than satisfying them.

It goes something like this – the client calls up with a question. The busy and stressed professional adviser (is there any other kind?) answers the query adequately and moves on to the next challenge demanding their attention. They have satisficed the demand.

In another scenario the client calls up with a question and gets the full and undivided attention of the professional adviser. The issue is properly explored and an immediate response is given. The professional adviser then thinks a little more about the issue and calls back the client with some additional thoughts. And then sends the client an email confirming the advice already given and offering two or three other avenues to explore. A few days later the professional adviser calls up the client, checks that he or she is happy with the advice provided and enquires how they actually tackled the issue. The client feels that he or she has received good advice in the context of an excellent service and that the professional adviser has taken the time and effort to ensure the matter is properly resolved. They have satisfied the demand.

So when you are racing through your busy day and applauding yourself for getting so many things off the “to do” list, stop for a moment and consider whether you are satisficing or really satisfying your clients.

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