Delivering Service Excellence Part Three: Improving the quality of your service by listening to your clients

  • By John Sharkey
  • 10 August 2012 00:00

Most firms recognise the need to deliver a consistent, excellent service to their clients in order for their business to be successful. Some firms regularly review their internal systems and processes of service delivery in order to improve the quality of their service. However, very few firms have any systems for obtaining regular feedback from their clients on their level of service and yet such feedback is an essential ingredient in the delivery of a consistent, excellent service.

So why do so few firms seek regular, systematic feedback from their clients?

Some firms take the view that since clients keep coming back to them year after year, the clients must be happy. Such an approach could be seen as complacent. In the current economic climate clients are scrutinising the service they receive from their advisers ever more closely for value for money, so all the more reason to check out whether we are meeting their needs.

A concern some firms have is that asking clients for their feedback might open the proverbial 'can of worms'. They would prefer to leave clients to come to them if there is a problem rather than seeking out their feedback pro-actively. This is a very blinkered approach to client feedback. Client feedback provides us with important information about our service and with such knowledge comes power. It gives us a key advantage over our competitors.

Client feedback provides the firm with an assessment of the current state of our product and service delivery from our clients' perspective. If you remember from our first piece in this series, it is our clients' perceptions of service that matter, not what we think. As such it provides us with the basis for an open non-judgmental review of service strengths and weaknesses.

Such feedback also provides the firm with a benchmark for assessing our future progress and for reviewing or setting service standards. It can also uncover new service opportunities, although firms should be careful not to turn the exercise into a sales pitch.

Ultimately feedback gives us an indication of whether the needs and expectations of our clients are being met which should be our ultimate goal in delivering service excellence.

In future pieces on this blog, we will be looking at the various ways we can go about obtaining feedback from clients. We will also look at the part service standards can play in helping to achieve a greater consistency in the service we deliver.

If you have missed the previous parts, please click here: Part One and Part Two.

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