cogsAdded value is very much in the eye of the beholder – what’s valuable to one contact or organisation might not be valuable to another.

Typical ‘added value’ approaches used by firms, such as bulletins, training and even secondments in some circumstances have now become commonplace and clients now expect these as part of the overall service. In some cases the added value which was designed to foster greater goodwill and client loyalty has been reduced to commodity status.

At the same time clients still want their advisers to deliver value as part of their relationship with them.  The answer then is to consider each client’s situation and propose something that will REALLY help them.

 

What do clients value?

In many a survey, clients often say they want the following from their advisers:

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  1. Professional skill (expertise, anticipating problems/issues and practical advice)
  2. o

  3. Strong communication (listening, clear concise documents, readily accessible people, prompt in response)
  4. o

  5. A working relationship (easy to work with, and effective as individuals and as a team)
  6. o

  7. Business understanding (knowing their business objectives, issues and ways of working and aligning with them)
  8. o

  9. Professional commitment (willing to ‘go the extra mile’ and do what is professionally necessary for the client to achieve the results they seek)
  10. o

  11. Effective management (of the project/matter, of the relationship, and of costs/billing)
  12. o

  13. A point of view (to add value through our advice and, where appropriate, challenge to the thinking)
  14. o

  15. Proactivity (proactively providing insight, ideas and news, and adding value wherever possible)

 

Valued added value

There are still opportunities for advisers, therefore, to deliver really ‘valued’ added value.  The key is not to try and devise a ‘one hat fits all’ offering. Instead create something that is highly tailored and personal in feel to each client.  For example:

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  • Giving a valued point of view – acting as a ‘sounding board’
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  • Providing access to relevant resources and information held within your firm
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  • Giving access to clients and contacts who will benefit them professionally and their business
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  • Offering benchmarking and health-checks in relation to their business, a specific process or role
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  • Sharing sector insight
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  • Giving relevant market intelligence
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  • Providing practical ‘know how’ on a specific issue
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  • Alerting them to competitor information
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  • Helping them develop into new markets/territories
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  • Sharing your facilities

 

Summary

As different clients value different things, firms can balance a variety of added value offerings both efficiently and effectively.  The key is to ensure the firm’s client teams fully understand their client contacts and determine which value activity will resonate the most with them.  Over time this strategy will indeed build client loyalty and make it harder for competitors to emulate and poach.

For more information about our training, coaching, webinars and e-learning on the subject of delivering real added value to clients please contact us on tel 44 (0) 20 7488 4419