The annual CRM study jointly organised by The Thriving Company and PM Forum attracted responses from some 150 firms in 2008, significantly more than last year.
One of the consequences of the current economic climate is that professional firms need to become far more efficient if they wish to retain historic profitability levels. Clients have allowed firms to be inefficient for too long.
Few people are capable of servicing their car so rely on independent certificates of roadworthiness (the infamous MOT). It is no fun to be stuck on the hard shoulder in a car that has broken down. Think of the stress, extra expense and wasted time, not to mention letting people down. Poor quality service can have an equally adverse impact on your clients!
This important study allows firms to benchmark their performance against their peers on five key gaps: understanding client expectations; setting service standards; directing service delivery; communications to clients; and CRM programme readiness.
Personal recommendations have their limits. Think of gap analysis as an MOT for your firm’s CRM system. It is a well-established practical tool based on extensive academic research that has enabled management in many sectors to focus on the real issues impacting client service and profitability.
It may be a bridge too far for some, but an independent audit of comparative service gaps would be incredibly helpful to any client wanting to find out how likely an adviser is to keep their CRM promises. This study is an important step towards a new level of transparency.