Managing Client Relationships – The Truth in Professional Services 2011

Posted on: August 16, 2011

The Managing Partners’ Forum http://www.mpfglobal.com/ in conjunction with The Thriving Company http://www.thrivingcompany.co.uk/ has adopted the annual research programme into CRM, formerly produced by the Professional Marketing Forum http://www.pmforum.co.uk/.

Last year’s survey (published in March 2010) revealed the following:

  • Four drivers for success stand out: Vision, Client Input, Programme Management and Measurement
  • 94% of firms report that CRM activities are producing some benefit but many objectives are only being achieved by 15% of firms
  • The activities most highly correlated with generating benefits are about consistently tracking and inputting client expectations into what the firm does; using appropriate measures; training and running real change programmes around what the firm does
  • Firms achieving major benefits are significant users of CRM technology but it must fit and technology in isolation is not a magic solution
  • While specifying exact levels of service and distinguishing different levels appears regularly in academemia, its impact based on the findings is relatively weak
  • Constraints to CRM adoption (in order of importance): no senior partner/board understanding, insufficiently effective technology, no clear strategic direction, no measurement, no real input of client feedback, no accountability for CRM, concentration on short term profitability and other issues take priority

Advice is given as to where to place effort to improve performance, namely:

  • Specific identification of client expectations through research processes
  • Critical expectations impact how the firm defines what it does
  • Expectations on front line staff described and measured
  • Results of client surveys consistently tracked
  • Training in service delivery, based on key elements of client expectations
  • Marketing and HR/training work together to define training on client delivery, relationship and service issues
  • Internal staff measured by the support they give those with client contact

The research identifies four gaps – which are effectively a guide to action:

  1. Gain a thorough and objective understanding about what clients and markets really want and value
  2. Use that understanding to determine what types of advice are provided, how it is delivered and how working with the firm feels for a client
  3. Ensure that employees are able, equipped and motivated to actially deliver the service that has been designed
  4. Use communications with clients – through marketing, account management and day to day contact – to set clear and appropriate expectation of what we will deliver

This year’s survey can be completed at: http://thrivingcompany.mpf-mcr.sgizmo.com/s3/ and the closing date is 19thAugust.

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2 Comments on “Managing Client Relationships – The Truth in Professional Services 2011

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