Client listening is taking centre stage
2020 saw a shift in both client needs and expectations and how firms delivered those services. To understand how firms are doing, client listening is growing in importance. 86% of respondents said that client listening would become more important to their firm.
The case for change
Despite this, the commercial impact of client listening is not always clear. Only 64% of respondents felt that senior decision-makers see the commercial benefits of client listening.
Keeping your finger on the pulse
This commercial disconnect may be driven by when firms seek client feedback. Many processes are still built around end of matter/project feedback, which comes too late to influence that client’s experience. This could be why only 21% of respondents said that feedback is ‘almost always’ actioned.
Keeping everyone on the same page
How client share feedback is becoming a complex picture. The average firm has at least 5 different sources of client feedback, including surveys, interviews, social media and instant feedback shared through online forms, verbally and emails.
Despite 50% of respondents saying that client listening stayed the same or increased during the first lockdown, the sources of feedback reduced. Surveys and interviews were reduced as firms relied on phone calls from BD and/or client teams.
The cry for automation
As a result, it’s not surprising that only 14% of respondents rated their listening process as more automated than manual. Respondents focused their frustrations on not being able to do enough client listening because the process is too manual &/or subjective. Typical comments were that the process “should be a lot more streamlined and automated” and that “it isn’t always as structured / routine as it should be”.
The barriers to fast informed decisions
Respondents described similar issues when reflecting on why client listening programmes don’t have more commercial impact. The barriers were summed up as “lack of resources and ease of the process”.
Future-proofing client listening
So what’s the future of client listening? In an ideal world, a future-proof client listening programme would be “automated”, “streamlined” and “reaching more clients”.