Thursday 15 June 2017, London

Chaired by Charlotte Green, this session featured insights from;
Amy D’Eugenio, Director of Client Management at Hermes Investment Management,
Stuart Dodds, Director of Global Pricing and Legal Project Management at Baker McKenzie,
Louise Field, Head of Client Service & Insight, Bird & Bird and
Ben Hymans,  ‎Director of Client Care & Development at CBRE

This session explored how the role of feedback has advanced in the professional services industry in recent years. Focusing on the importance of feedback and how it can be used by the Marketing and BD teams to develop firm wide impact that can ultimately benefit all stakeholders from PAs to Partners and of course importantly, the client.

The importance of Feedback

The role of feedback has evolved, with many professional services firms moving away from the standardised post-transaction client feedback form. Instead firms have moved onto collecting feedback using a myriad of techniques such as: face to face, telephone and post pitch. These in turn are used to develop the way in which a firm helps service their clients and to develop the business as whole.

Marketing and BD teams are at the forefront of helping to advance the way a firm perceives feedback, changing the firm wide mindset to be one that understands that each individual across the firm, including those in back office departments such as IT, is crucial to successfully implementing change in relation to feedback.  

By collecting feedback from a range of clients it helps to build up a clearer picture of how clients see the firm including any recurring themes. Altering the mindset of the firm to encourage and welcome feedback can be challenging but constructive feedback from clients makes way for discussion on how business change needs to happen.

Capturing the Feedback

Capturing feedback from the clients you get the work from is all well and good but understanding what you could have done better and gathering feedback from the clients you didn’t get the work from is just as important. By asking for this feedback it will allow you to better understand what matters to them which for example; can help when you are next preparing bids or pitches for this client.

Every organisation considers different aspects of the work carried out to be important to them, it is therefore vital to make sure that the feedback you capture is the relevant. Understanding where the value lies for an organisation, be it; ROI, Margin, Time, Cost or Risk is crucial in managing the expectations of the client.  

Questions to consider about the client:
What is good value to the client?
How can we add more value?
How do we compare to our competitors?
How appropriate was the pricing/fee?

Points to consider asking internal:
How clear were we in showing the value of our pricing?
Could we add more for the client at a different price?
Is this client price sensitivity?
What was the cost to serve this client? Considering the time spent on bids, pitches and serving them

Some firms use external feedback provider with others use internal resources. Both have the advantages; External feedback provider – This has a tendency to be better quality, clients see you have spent the money and that you take client feedback seriously. While by using internal resources – You get to build relationships from the feedback meaning the firm benefits directly and keeps the credibility.

Analysing the Feedback

Once a firm has received feedback, it is important that they review it in depth internally. Firms should consider the following points: is this what we thought would happen; what actually happened; what went well and why; what could be improved and how?

Understanding what each of these questions mean to the client in question and personalising them where possible can help to improve the client service delivery and relationship management.

Whilst a firm analyses each piece of feedback, it is important to ensure that the client is aware their comments are being taken seriously. It is therefore important that a firm does not forgot to include them in what actions it is taking as a result. This also helps to encourage the client to continue to give feedback.

The Benefits of Feedback

Feedback is incredibly valuable information that can help to make important decisions in how the firm develops. It can help pre-empt the needs of clients, picking up on themes which begin to appear, saving firms both time and money.

A key benefit for BD teams when launching a new product or service is that feedback can give a unique insight into how the market is reacting to current issues. This provides firms with first-hand knowledge of the feeling and opinion of clients allowing you to develop your offering accordingly.

It is crucial to ensure that all teams in the business understand that they involved in the feedback process regardless of their department or position in the firm; everyone has an important role to play in service delivery. Sharing the positive and constructive feedback with the relevant stakeholders, along with welcoming their input on the feedback, can assist in creating the correct attitude to feedback which will ultimately drive business change.

The key to any good relationship is managing expectations and with a carefully considered and well structured feedback process this can be achieved.

Liam Trueman, Marketing Manager at Anthony Gold Solicitors