What Customers Value

Customers value many things.  Comfortable chair, good lighting, phone calls returned, reports written in their language, reasonable competence, regular reporting, and on and on.

These are like symptoms.  They are what they see.  They are not the driving force of satisfaction.

If you don’t deal with real problems, clients will judge how they feel by the externalities.  You need to address the real issues that clients care about:

  1. Discovery and explanation of previously unknown problems
  2. Discovery of, and explanation of, existing weak solutions to known problems
  3. Creative solutions to known and previously unknown problems
  4. Illumination of opportunities, particularly cost saving or time saving ones
  5. Help with the decisions
  6. Communication of decisions to others involved
  7. Help with implementation
  8. Review and explanation of progress

You must remind them of what is important and what you are doing about it, regularly.

If you keep clients focused on real problems, the externalities will stop being important.

No one should ever lose a client because the magazines in the lobby are two months old, but they will if they don’t define what is important.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. don.s@protectorsgroup.com

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