How to provide more effective professional services
The ability to show empathy is the most important attribute of customer service in a professional service environment, according to Peter Bowman in his book Service 7: Seven Principles to Help Your Professional Services Business Deliver Experiences Clients Will Love. If you can understand and show concern for the client’s situation, and offer a willingness to help, active listening, the ability to deliver, and a comfortable environment, you are well on your way to establishing lasting client relationships.
Based on his experience in marketing professional services in Australia, the author has identified seven key principles for achieving success. The first four of these are:
- Value: You need to be able to add value if you want to charge the client a premium price.
- Understanding: You can create better outcomes through understanding what drives and matters most to a client.
- Communication: You need to make clients aware of what you can do for them.
- Diversify: You should ensure that your new business comes from multiple different sources
To find the other three principles, you will need to read the book.
I resonated with each of the book’s seven principles, and I was particularly interested in the author’s discussion of the importance of service design and the service environment. As their advertising material demonstrates, professionals mistakenly think that clients hire them because they are the “leading firm” or other such nonsense, whereas in reality clients hire them because the receptionist is welcoming or clients feel like the adviser has listened to their problems and cares about them.
The book is quite short, at just 85 pages, but this means that it is quick to read if you are pressed for time, like most professional service providers, and it just concentrates on the key information, leaving out the padding and stories that often fill up business books. While the price seems fairly high for a short book, many readers will find that the insights provided in the book offer a great deal of value.