How Do You Make Your Projects Client-centric?
Client–centric is an approach to doing business that focuses on creating a positive experience for the client. Client–centric businesses ensure that the client is at the centre of a business’s philosophy, operations or ideas
We were prompted to write this article as a result of two examples we heard about recently in financial services firms.
In the first, a firm had developed a new service to meet the needs of its clients. Yet, it had not actually asked those clients what they needed. The firm had assumed that, since some of their competitors had this service, there must be a demand. Initial uptake of the new service suggested, at best, a very limited demand.
In the second, a firm started a new project that was going to be fully “client-centric”. The project is well underway and, as far as we are told, no one has defined what client-centric means or spoken to any of their clients.
Neither of these situations is uncommon and being client-centric means different things to different people on different projects. The two examples above are, of course, considering the needs of their clients. Often those needs are considered in the very early stages of project definition, when seeking approval for a business case for example. Maintaining the focus on client benefits can be very difficult when in the depths of project delivery.
We believe that if you want to have that client-centricity, you must focus on the client from the beginning to the end, as opposed to during or after delivery. We believe that this is possible by following these 6 steps in your analysis phase and building your project around the findings:
- Agree what client–centricity means for you. Does it mean breadth of services, is it tailored to specific client segments, is it sector-leading or fast-following, etc.
- Identify your client interactions. Give these processes the focus and time to ensure they are slick and re-engineered if required, these should be your number one priority.
- Ask your clients for feedback. This could be on services, processes, communication, or whatever is relevant to the project you are undertaking. You can prioritise the feedback received to ensure you are focusing on the right areas.
- Act on your clients’ feedback. Incorporate it into your project where that is the right thing to do. Then track that it is delivered. If you are not acting on it, tell the clients why.
- Think about the future. As well as acting on what your clients currently want, think about new developments in your sector, market trends, etc, to shape your future proposition.
- Use the project to build the relationship. In recent years, projects have often been perceived as imposition on clients, e.g. GDPR, rather a benefit to them. Where a project is providing benefits, there is an opportunity to send a positive message not only to clients directly but to all client-facing team members.
If client-centricity is a goal then it is a long–term goal, it is a cultural shift for the organisation, it requires everything to be seen through the lens of the client, and it takes time.
However, with running a project there is an opportunity as change is imminent, therefore thinking of the client from the start of the process assists with the shift to client-centricity.
As always, we are happy to chat about this so please feel free to get in touch.