PACE thinking

Why Client Relationship Management?

When businesses start to go hungry they are forced to go out to hunt – their most desirable potential prey being the key clients of their competitors.

Given this scenario, firms that make every effort to ensure excellence in everything that they do for their key clients tend to be in a stronger position to defend these relationships and keep voracious competitors at bay. Through these activities defending firms can retain the business of the small number of clients that almost invariably make up a disproportionate percentage of overall fee income. The professional management of key client relationships has never been so important.

The nuances of client relationship management in professional services

PACE Thinking - key client managementRelationships are paramount to professional services firms. The quality of client relationships has a direct correlation to the degree of success a firm experiences. The cost of finding new clients compared to the cost of retaining existing ones, is well documented. Those firms who do not invest in building good relationships, face a greater turnover of clients (and probably staff) than those that do.

Firms that are more successful at Key Client Management tend to view it as a strategy which is fundamental to the firm achieving its most important objective(s), rather than an objective in its own right.  This strategy is the broad direction the firm must take in order to meet its business imperatives.

In ensuring the strategy is successful, the key client management programme needs a defined leader or ‘champion’ who can gain buy-in at every level. Recognition and rewards must also be in line with the strategy so that client retention and business from existing clients is rewarded as much as new business from new clients. The most successful firms also work hard to build the necessary motivation and discipline at ground level so that best practice is prevalent throughout the firm.

Improving client relationship management

Over the years, we have helped many organisations improve their client relationship management. In doing so, we have helped our clients:

  • Understand the process of managing key clients
  • Undertake key client planning
  • Manage key client relationships
  • Segment their client base
  • Conduct successful and responsible cross-selling
  • Market successfully to existing clients
  • Develop key service skills
  • Develop a service strategy