With competition growing in every area of professional services and with the edges between the professional services becoming more blurred, firms are becoming increasingly aware of the value of their most important client relationships. If any firm were to lose half of its Top 10 clients this would have a disastrous effect on fee income and profitability – not to mention utilisation rates and firm-wide morale. Realistically however, in this highly competitive age, the Top 10 Key clients of any professional firm will most certainly appear as Key Targets or Prospects for a number of its competitors.
In terms of fee income and profitability most firms follow (or are close to) the 80:20) rule. 80% is derived from the top 20% of clients.
Given these conditions it is hardly surprising that professional services firms re becoming increasingly more interested in how they can ‘guarantee’ the future flow of work from Key Clients. What is widely accepted today is that technical excellence in the delivery of the service is not enough. Technical excellence is essential but it is also a default expectation from clients. That is a base line from which one begins to compete.
The need to find ways of creating closer and closer alliances with Key Clients has been a major catalyst for firms to work with PACE. They work with us to articulate strategies that will differentiate the service they offer from those competitors who would appear to be very similar, they work with us to formulate practices that deliver improved client satisfaction and they use us to develop relationship building skills in their professional staff.
Driven forward by our clients’ desire to capture excellence in Key Client management in a professional services environment, we wrote and published Managing Key Clients. Included in this book was a self-diagnostic Healthcheck. When completed, this Healthcheck gave the reader a picture of how advanced his or her firm was in having the culture and practices that translate into on-going client delight and satisfaction and help to generate continuing profitable fee income. That Healthcheck is available below.