8 sure-fire ways for professionals to lose clients: Part 1

by Kirsten Hodgson

This is the first in a three-part series of posts looking at how lawyers, accountants, engineers and other professionals can protect and strengthen their existing client relationships by avoiding 8 common mistakes.  This post deals with the first two. 

Number 1. Lack of client interaction beyond the day-to-day

The only way you can possibly understand what’s important to your clients, how you’re performing for them, and what they’d like to see from you going forwards is to ask them. Yet many organisations either assume they know or are apprehensive about what their clients might say if asked.

One of the most valuable things you can do, in the current environment, is to conduct regular face to face relationship reviews with your clients and business partners. These should be conducted at least annually with your major clients and should then be supported by end-of-matter reviews and semi-regular catch-ups to discuss potential opportunities.

 If you’re not doing this, you can be sure that your competitors are: and they’ll be the ones who’ll benefit as they will be able to focus their efforts and their money on those things that will make the biggest difference to your clients.  This could lead to you losing work to your competitors in the medium to long term.

 There is no downside to conducting reviews, provided you have the capacity to act on the feedback and that you do so (and let your clients know what you have done). All our clients experience a greater understanding of their relationships by engaging in this process, and some of our clients reap huge rewards. By conducting relationship reviews for one of our clients, we identified six concrete opportunities that our client didn’t know about, helped them to save one major relationship, and to generate $250K in new business from a further two clients alone.

Number 2.     Over-servicing/under-servicing

One of the most common complaints we hear from our clients’ customers is that they are either being over- or under-serviced. Either they are being bombarded with information, phone calls and personal visits or they’re not hearing from their advisers/suppliers enough. The problem is compounded by the fact that what one client sees as over-servicing, another will see as under-servicing.

The only way to ensure you provide your clients with the right level of service is to understand their expectations and how they like to be communicated with and then to tailor your approach to each client accordingly. For example, some clients will want to receive email updates, while others would rather you picked up the phone or posted these on Twitter or LinkedIn; some will want you to keep in contact between work, others won't unless you are contacting them about something that might impact them/their business. Even when you're doing work for clients they will have different expectations about what they want from you, how they expect you to communicate with them and the frequency. You need to know what these are, otherwise you're setting yourself up for a fall. 

I'll post the next two mistakes professionals make next week. 

What's your view? 

What are the biggest mistakes you see professionals making with regard to their existing client relationships? 






Specialising in professional services and law firm marketing. I help firms to retain and grow existing clients and attract more of their ideal clients. My core services include social media for lead generation, voice of the client programmes and tender strategy and development. Outside of work I love to run. I’m a bit like Forest Gump in that I’m not that quick but can keep going for ages. I also enjoy coming up with new inventions. Unfortunately, most of them have already been invented! | * Professional services marketing consultant | * Legal marketing consultant | * Law firm marketing consultant
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  • http://marketingactuary.com Promod Sharma | @mActuary

    I didn’t think that over-servicing was possible but see your point. We need to understand the form and frequency of the contact clients prefer. Consistency is also important and tends to suffer as clients start getting taken for granted.

  • http://marketingforprofessionals.co.nz/ Kirsten Hodgson

    Exactly right. Consistency is hard esp. when busy but totally agree, it is important.

  • Melanie

    Hi Kirsten, great series of communication tips!

    Hope all’s well with you. Would be great to have a coffee in the newish Year; I’ll email you.

    Have a lovely Christmas break and restful holiday


    • http://marketingforprofessionals.co.nz/ Kirsten Hodgson

      That sounds great Mel. Hope you have a lovely break too – and that this weather improves!