If someone were to ask you how good your dentist is, how would you respond? Chances are you’d describe their personality, their location or perhaps even the standard of presentation of their waiting rooms to justify your opinion. As to how qualified they are to perform surgery on you, you probably simply assume there’s an appropriate authority to keep an eye on those details, right?
So how do YOUR clients know how good you are? Whether a lawyer, accountant, financial adviser or broker, as professional service providers we can all too easily to lose sight of how our clients view us. This becomes particularly relevant when we consider how POTENTIAL clients evaluate our services.
Recent research in the UK revealed that up to 95% of small business owners admit to having no idea how to determine how qualified their accountant is to look after their interests.
Compared to our view of our own respective industries, clients and potential clients use a completely different set of criteria to determine quality of service. So doesn’t it make sense to pause for a while and consider their point of view?
There’s no doubt that word-of-mouth recommendations play a major role in attracting new business, but those recommendations need to be backed up with the many other subtle cues used by potential clients to determine the quality of service they can expect. Those cues are relayed through various “touch points”, and so many professionals are blithely oblivious of the impressions created by those touch points.
Obvious examples would include your firm’s website or the presentation of the reception area. Yet even these “shopfronts” often convey negative rather than positive reinforcement. Simple neglect can result in an impression of being tired and stuck in the past.
We all know the large consulting firms spend considerable amounts on creating fabulous reception areas at their expensive addresses, producing impressive communication pieces and hosting events designed to convey their lofty status. So what can the rest of us do with more limited budgets?
Actually it’s surprising how much a firm can lift its image just be adding a splash of colour to the walls, upgrading the signage and moving a few stylish pieces of furniture into the reception area. But that’s only a start, developing a more comprehensive strategic approach can ensure all bases are covered.
A good marketing strategy would start out by finding out what your key clients think of you. Following up with a “marketing audit” to uncover all the various touch points with clients will lay the foundation for building a plan to create a positive and cohesive brand identity for the organisation.