“We need to listen to what our clients really say and what they really want.”

But why is that so challenging for professional services firms?

“A big problem is being inherently risk averse,” says Robert Camp, Director of Strategic Innovation at South West law firm Stephens Scown LLP.

“Our clients want speed, the ability to track what is happening with the work we are doing for them and information prompts from us, rather than having to chase us. They want a comprehensive service. The bottom line is that they want us to make their life easier.”

Other sectors are delivering this now, and according to Robert, it is time that professional service firms follow suit.

“Last week I opened a bank account with Monzo. All I had to do was upload a photograph of my passport and a selfie.

“If a bank, with the level of regulation they face, can make the sign up process so quick and easy, it must be possible for professional services firms to do the same.

“Clients of professional services firms must wonder why we put up so many barriers at the start of our relationship with them,” adds Robert.

 

According to Robert it is important to consider every part of a client’s journey and find ways to innovate and deliver improvements in the client’s experience.

“Professional service firms don’t always understand the importance of the whole of the client journey. There are many places it can go wrong so it will take time and commitment to get them all right,” he says.

For firms wanting to innovate, Robert suggests that the travel and airline sectors have good examples that may inspire them.

“EasyJet has just seen its third quarter revenues increase by 11% and its efforts to innovate its customer experience will no doubt have played a part. You can book a flight, hotels and car hire quickly via an App, which becomes a one stop shop for the customer.

“The airline keeps customers up to date with key prompts before the flight and at the airport the simplicity continues with self check in for passengers with hold baggage and the ability to go straight to security for those with hand luggage only.”

Airports are also looking at how they can simplify passenger experience by speeding up pinch points in process to maximise leisure time in the departure lounge so passengers who are in “treat mode” have more time to spend in the cafes, shops and bars – with the benefit of increased revenue too.

 

So what should professional services firms who want to innovate and improve their client experience do?

  • Look outside your sector for inspiration
  • Critically examine the whole of your client’s journey with you and find ways to make each interaction easier and better
  • Most importantly, actually listen to what your clients really want