How do you create client loyalty? it’s all about the client experience. One North’s John Simpson joins Good2bSocial’s Guy Alvarez and provides insights into how to create client loyalty, how understanding the customer involves deep research to gather data, and how that data informs your marketing and business development process.
John Simpson is the CEO of One North, a digital agency that partners exclusively with professional services organizations to create interactive programs that enhance the client experience, drive new business and attract top talent.
The Professional Service Buying Process
When marketers fully understand their target audience, everything else will fall into place. However, professional service organizations often struggle to inject their customers’ voice into their brand. Sometimes for these types of organizations it’s difficult to even do this type of critical audience research because clients wish to be anonymous or keep their experiences confidential.
After One North completed research on the buying process behind high end professional services as well as enhancing client loyalty amongst existing clients, clear data emerged. A key takeaway was the top three reasons why a professional service organization will make it into the initial consideration set of a buyer. The major reason was client experience followed by the value and relationships that a firm provides.
Are professionals ready to implement these insights?
To professionals, these reasons make sense empirically, but the biggest challenge is that those providing the services – the partners and the associates – don’t have the bandwidth to execute business development fully across the entire client lifecycle. Until the billable hours model changes, legal services organizations probably won’t take full advantage of the client development process.
Consumers are very in tune to what a good client experience looks like and what a bad client experience looks like. In the legal space today, it’s a zero sum game meaning that law firms are going to be taking business away from other law firms. The level of client experience a lawyer provides can directly impact which lawyer a prospective client chooses. Many organizations are changing their clients’ experiences through technology. For example, one global company is providing value to their most important customers by giving them access to an online portal of useful, relevant tools. Firms that offer this level of experience are going to have an advantage over firms that don’t offer any value beyond billable hours.
Finding Talent for Professional Service Organizations
When you’re a professional services organization, talent is your supply chain – and it’s critical. Law firms are becoming smarter at getting the talent they want. Many are even creating “talent brands” separate from their consumer brand where they consider the types of professionals they want to recruit and how to market to them.
The labor market has fundamentally shifted. There are more options than ever for employment which is why firms need to be more proactive in using digital to attract potential professional candidates. Today self-employment is skyrocketing due to the ability to market yourself and provide services digitally.
How do law firms differ from other types of professional service organizations?
The major similarity between law firms and other professional services organizations is that they are both relationship-based businesses. However, they differ in the way they think about brands. Professional services organizations that are not law firms focus less on individuals within their company and market themselves as a collective organization whereas law firms highlight attorneys individually. Yet, the legal industry may need to shift to a less individual marketing approach and turn to marketing their firm based on overall thought leadership, technology, and how they service their clients.
The Future of Digital in Lead Generation
There’s a tremendous opportunity for law firms to start capturing, mining, and using data to better inform their business development process. Today the business development process that most firms go through is largely undocumented. With the rise of data analytics, there will be more power for business development professionals to use data to better inform their marketing efforts.
Law firms must have a specific focus when it comes to their target audience and strategy. You must decide where to invest your time and resources in order to accomplish what’s most important in an effective way.