Thursday, May 22, 2008

What WILL Happen If Client Service Isn't Your Top Priority

Chris Brogan offered a more lengthy post today than the one I referenced yesterday that noted some predictions for the future. It inspired me to write a post I've been thinking about for a long time based on the premise that the communication firms that attain the preeminent position for client service excellence between now and 2020 will carry the day. They will be the ones that thrive in this changing world, leaving the others in their wake.

First, let me share some of Chris's predictions, "I believe we’re going to shift back to thinking customer service and community management are the core and not the fringe. I believe we’re going to move our communications practices back in-house for lots of what is currently pushed out to agencies and organizations. I believe that integrity, reputation, skills, and personality are going to trump some of our previous measures of professional ability. I believe the web and our devices will continue to move into tighter friendships, and that we will continue to train our devices to interpret more of the world around us on our behalf."

Chris offers other predictions as well including a growing trend toward working remotely, which I completely agree with, but I'll save for another time. That said, let's consider his predictions. In short, it's about client service, outsourcing, integrity, and relationships. They are all interrelated.

Jonathan Tisch and others talk about the importance of customization and personalization. Frances X. Frei asks, "Are you trying to be all things to all people or specific things to specific people?" Without personalized, customized client service that's delivered with integrity and fosters trusted relationships, most clients WILL bring their work in-house as Chris suggests. The agencies with whom clients will work in our hyper-competitive, flat world are the ones who are truly committed to client service excellence. Clients (of all sizes) won't settle for less, and they shouldn't have to.

Offer just satisfactory client service and you WILL lose clients. You WILL lose top people, and you WILL lose money. Not even the new business pipeline will save you because there won't be much of one. The best of the best employees won't want to work for you because they'll want to work for the best client service oriented firms that attract only the best clients. And why would clients trust outsourcing anything to firms other than the ones with the best people? If you're not committed to client service excellence now, your revenues are dropping as we speak; you just don't realize it yet.

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