Client service

Do your client service realities match your hype?

Your intentions are good, of course. You want your business to have a strong reputation for client service. Who wouldn't? But taking concrete initiatives that make tangible improvements to service levels can be stubbornly difficult to achieve.

KPMG lists six pillars of B2B customer experience. These are Personalisation, Integrity, Time and Effort, Resolution, Expectations and Empathy. Interestingly, no less than five of these qualities can be significantly helped by your project management system. We look at them here, and include what Synergist users tell us on the subject.

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Integrity

Trust, the quality that is valued highest of all in B2B relationships, can only be generated via integrity. Businesses managing projects and scheduling resources every hour of the day can't survive long if they act as detached mechanical delivers of stuff. They have to factor in the effect on clients at every step.

What’s needed is a systemic approach that is built into the very fabric of how everyone in your team works.

This is where Synergist comes in. In a phrase, it upgrades client conversations at every touch point. We hear comments like these from Synergist users all the time:

David Ladds, partner at communications agency Bladonmore, said:

“The data that Synergist delivers allows us to have conversations with clients that we couldn’t have before. It’s the power of proof. With data in front of you, you can discuss the situation with clarity and confidence.”

Steve Revell, MD of consulting engineers Maleon told us:

“Synergist has lifted client discussions. The system flags up problems early, so we can immediately talk it through with the client rather than discover it too late. Clients really appreciate that.”

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Time and effort

How can using such a system have this effect? It’s because using the system lets everybody see their own project’s progress, who is involved, what the next steps are and how their own decisions make an impact.

Synergist makes a big contribution here. A key reason for implementing Synergist is to avoid you having to spend precious time on the daily grind of making your business function. The client can get left out. But you can only focus on clients if you have the time to do so.

The Managing Director of a Yorkshire-based digital agency told us:

“One big reason for implementing Synergist was to avoid wasting so much time running the mechanics of the agency when we want to focus purely on clients. So, when planning our growth we went for ‘lean growth’.”

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Resolution

Resolution is all about resolving issues quickly and reliably, giving progress reports, communicating quickly and clearly.

It also means giving fast answers to clients when they ask a question. If a client called you right now and asked for copies of the costings to part of a large project, plus your last three invoices plus the date of their approvals to the project before last, what would go through your mind? For some, this is sheer torture. But it should be easy. As Andy Yates, Director of Webb Yates Engineers, told us:

“When a client challenges an invoice we now don’t have to wade through a thousand emails to find the one that has a bearing on it. Everything’s in one place.”

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Expectations

The key here is avoiding over-promising and failing to deliver. How rarely is it to hear of a company whose clients really like the way they do business?

Steve Laird, Finance Director of On Line Design & Engineering, said:

“Our clients like it and we have some huge clients, like ConocoPhillips, Total and TATA. They like the way we can give them details of time and costs on projects. Today, they want a certain level of transparency, and they demand periodic audits, where they come in and analyse the entire system. We sail through those audits every time.”

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Empathy

This final pillar of KPMG's is all about putting yourself in the customers' shoes and grasping their priorities, challenges and fears.

Clients like being kept up to date and fully informed about issues. Synergist gives you the facts you need to communicate, and gives you early warnings of problems before they get out of hand. Clients like this.

Said Sara Blannin, Finance Director of environmental consultancy ECUS:

“It has helped raise client service levels. Synergist gives us early warning of issues, so we can tell from phase tracking where we might have project creep. That’s essential for good communications and solving problems before they escalate. Client feedback is part of our ISO culture, along with billing plans, visibility, client engagement.”

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