Free your client's voice – Unlock the Power of Real-Time Client Insights

Does your firm suffer from reporting bottlenecks? Firm's seeking to make more informed client-led decisions, are being held back by slow manual reporting processes. Real-time client insights can set you free.
With always-on client listening platforms like MyCustomerLens, generating these real-time client insights is now easy. Imagine having actionable insights for real-time measurement of a rebrand, for evidencing continuous improvement for ISO9001, and for helping BD teams win more new work.
Staying ahead of the curve means more than just keeping up with the competition; it means understanding and responding to the needs of your clients in real-time. Yet, many firms struggle with reporting bottlenecks.
Have you ever faced this situation: your team has conducted some key account interviews and separately gathered some client survey data. But then the insights get stuck.
One person becomes responsible for analysing the data and creating a report, often in PowerPoint. So they have to wait until all the transcripts have been written up and all the survey responses received. 
The process takes up valuable time and frustrates decision-makers waiting for the answers.

Traditional client insight processes create frustrating delays.

By the time teams across the firm gain access to client insights, they may be outdated. If follow-up questions arise, further manual analysis and reporting are needed, causing even more delays. Worst of all, these delays encourage decision-makers to fall back on their existing assumptions and memories of previous research.

Why do we need real-time client insights?

The alternative is to develop a process for sharing continuous client insights. By making the move from traditional to always-on client insights, your decision-making can become more agile, responsive, and client-focused. By removing reporting bottlenecks, it also enables your client listening teams to add more value by focusing on actionable insights rather than data crunching. Win:win!
For example, here’s 3 use cases I’ve spoken to firms about recently:
  • Rebranding - measuring how well communications and experiences align with the new brand
  • ISO audits - using client insights to evidence continuous improvement
  • Bids and pitches - using insights to win more work

Use case 1, rebranding - measuring how well communications and experiences align with the new brand

Law firms have traditionally relied on research to gauge the impact and effectiveness of their new brand. While formal research surveys and focus groups can provide robust insights, they come at a price - both financial and time. There again, as time is money, time is a financial cost too.
By analysing online reviews, formal feedback and informal conversations in real-time, firms can gain immediate insights into market perception. This continuous brand monitoring enables the newly rebranded firm to adapt quickly. This isn’t just about whether the market “gets it” from a comms perspective. It’s also about whether their day-to-day experiences with the firm align with the new brand promises.
Always-on client insights will empower your firm to make data-driven decisions about your new brand. The real-time insights help you to strike while the iron is hot, refining your delivery while clients and the wider market are forming their new impressions.
Read more:

Use case 2, ISO audit - using real-time feedback to evidence continuous improvement

Evidencing customer focus is a core component of ISO certification, especially for ISO9001. But once you have a satisfaction survey and complaints process in place, how do you show that the process is delivering continuous improvements?
Surveys and complaints tend to be received towards the end of a matter, or periodically for relationship clients. So one way to improve is to combine these formal feedback processes with other feedback received throughout the client journey. From pitch feedback, to unsolicited and informal feedback, clients are a goldmine of fresh intelligence.
But they need to know that you want to hear from them (see the culture challenge below). Having a real-time insights process shows clients you are listening, because you can close the loop quickly. Client-centricity means being able to discover and respond to client needs quickly. If you still have a periodic feedback process, there’s a risk that you are focusing on measuring client satisfaction rather than improving it.
Read more:

Use case 3, Bids and pitches - using client insights to win more work

Successful bids require having a lot of information at your fingertips. From the breadth and strength of relationships within the organisation, to knowing their current strategic priorities and previous experiences with your firm. Too often these insights rely on having the right people in the room.
Embracing an always-on client insights process gives your bids teams an edge. Real-time reporting on client insights comes from having a single source of truth (client feedback, market intel, operational indicators etc) and the ability to automatically analyse and make sense of it all.
Imagine everyone in your bid team having on-demand access to insights about the prospective client and the market they operate in. If you could instantly find client testimonials and previous feedback that evidence the value-add that the prospective client wants. Imagine if everyone could see where the strengths and gaps were in the relationship, and what made similar bids successful.

The challenges with creating real-time client insights

The case for having your finger on the pulse is becoming compelling. Having real-time insights about client needs and experiences can give you a competitive advantage. So what’s holding firms back?
Reporting bottlenecks are not the fault of Powerpoint or the people creating the reports. Client listening, Marketing and BD teams can only work with the systems and processes they are given.
The speed and depth of insight reporting is driven by the firm’s process for gathering the voice of clients. That means, the constraints start with the culture.

Challenge 1, Culture: I know my clients

The biggest barrier to creating real-time client insights is the perception that decision-makers already have them. When individuals look at individual relationships, they may be right saying that “I know my clients” or “they would tell me if there was a problem”.
However organisations are complex beasts. There is more than one stakeholder for each piece of work. Multiple people work on each matter and multiple people decide on which firms get future work.
At the same time, there’s a lot that can be learned from looking across similar clients. You can see emerging needs and trends, and anticipate unspoken expectations by seeing what other firms have shared. Always-on client insights can tell you all of this, but only if the culture encourages a collective approach to client listening.
Read more:

Challenge 2, Projects: limited feedback sources

Traditional client listening is resource-intensive so tends to be project driven. Firms often rely on one or two sources of feedback, such key account interviews and surveys. As a result, the feedback focuses on a subset of clients and a single point in the client journey, such as post-matter.
While there have been many practical reasons for this approach, it has limited the view of the client experience. As a result, some insights have been less compelling for the business to act on. Anyone who’s been responsible for chasing up actions created from last year’s client listening, will know this problem well!
To embrace real-time client insights, firms need to look beyond research projects. Client relationships are continuous, with people staying in touch even when there’s no active matter. Gathering insights and generating insights should be equally continuous. Project-based feedback is analogous to Premier League managers only giving their players feedback at the end of each season… which would be a recipe for relegation!
Read more:

Challenge 3, Manual analysis

Data tagging! It used to be the ‘necessary evil’ for anyone involved in client listening. Whether you needed reams of printouts and a fresh pack of highlighters, or had a system for applying tags, the process was the same. Sit down, read each text comment, then decide which tag(s) is most relevant.
Manual text analysis is a slow process. It’s also inconsistent. Even if one person does all the tagging, they’re still a human making hundreds of judgement calls while trying to keep multiple concepts in their head. As a result, traditional client listening has ignored unstructured feedback sources like testimonials, reviews and complaints; while also limiting the open questions asked in surveys.
Real-time client insights rely on a unified view of the client voice, and that means having a way to handle growing volumes of text comments. So making the business case for automated text analysis is a crucial step to delivering real-time actionable client insights.

Challenge 4, Reporting: limited actionability

The combination of limited feedback sources, siloed projects and manual analysis makes life very hard for anyone reporting on client listening. Specifically, it becomes hard to translate the data into actionable insights that address the emerging opportunities.
So much time has been lost getting to this point. This leaves little time - and head space - for asking ‘so what’? It’s ironic that people get so little time to focus on the whole point of client listening - using the insights to strengthen relationships, reputations and revenues.

The modern approach to client listening

I believe that anyone responsible for client listening should be spending most of their time helping the firm take action on what’s been heard. That’s the place where they can add the most value - deciding what insights mean for that client, for other similar clients and the firm as a whole. Then helping the firm to take action on what they’ve heard, as well as closing the loop with the clients.
With real-time client insights to support their conclusions, Marketing and Business Development teams, Client Relationship Managers and Client Relationship Partners can all do their work and deliver their KPIs more effectively.
Yes it won’t happen overnight. You can’t click your fingers and have every client insight at your fingertips. But it can happen much faster than you think.
Implementing the technology is the easy bit. At MyCustomerLens we have a 90 day contract-to-impact promise. But that only works through collaboration.  Like any change management process, the firm will adopt and evolve over time. Some teams will move faster than others. That’s normal, and part of the process.
So delivering real-time client insights really comes down to answering one question: Do we want to make decisions that impact the firm, based on the current needs and expectations of our clients?
If the answer is yes, then the culture of “I know my clients” is not sustainable. A periodic project-based approach to client listening is no longer enough. Manual analysis and reporting becomes a roadblock to informed decision-making and hence to the firm’s future success.

Free the voice of your clients

If you’ve read this far, then deep down you know it’s time to free your client insights. To make them available across the firm, so that the right people can see the right insights at the right time.
It’s time to democratise data. Time to enable the business to self-serve. Using real-time client insights can become a natural part of their day-to-day work.
Does that mean the client listening teams are no longer needed? No, it’s the opposite. They are vital to the process. Not the process of data hunting and data crunching. Not the process of nagging partners to include their clients in the next round of feedback. Those old skool processes can go.
Instead, client listening is moving up the value curve. It gets to finally demonstrate its business benefits and evidence its RoI. The focus turns to using expertise to determine ‘so what’. It’s about helping the business see and respond to emerging client needs and expectations.
In short, real-time client insights help you turn client listening into your competitive advantage! Are you ready…?

Time for a chat, or prefer to keep informed?

Is your firm ready to implement always-on client listening?
With a quick video call, we can help you decide.

Alternatively, keep up to date with Outside-in, the newsletter for client-centred professional services firms.

Privacy & Permissions

Privacy policy

 Read full details.

Cookie policy

 Read full details.

Analytics - Google

Google tracks you everywhere, so make sure you know what you're letting yourself in for...