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Gerber Financial Advisors


ASK GERBER: WHAT IS A CLIENT SERVICE MATRIX? PART ONE

Late 1995 I was talking with another entrepreneur at the Four Seasons hotel in Vail, Colorado. We began talking business – what we do, who we work with – when he asked who I saw as my business competitors. I rattled off x, y, z financial firms off the top of my head. His response, point blank, “your competition isn’t other advisors; your competition is this hotel.”

As I looked at him puzzled, he elaborated: your clients come to this hotel and get a high level of service. When they leave here, they then expect that same level of service in the other areas of their lives. It becomes their standard for service in everything.

And it clicked.

A Client Service Matrix may sound like a technology of the future, but in reality it’s been around for as long as your business has. Although it may go seemingly undetected in your business today, your client service matrix is your company’s word. Your bond. Your promise.

WHAT IS A CLIENT SERVICE MATRIX?

We call it our CSM.

A CSM is putting a company’s service expectations into writing. It’s taking a look at all the stakeholders in your business – staff, clients, shareholders – and outlining what service expectations mean to each party. Take a look at how your business operates and clearly define who does what, and when they do it. Establishing that internal CSM is just as important as setting those external expectations.

Step one, getting it in writing, is easy enough. The tricky park is putting the necessary metrics in place to ensure your company adheres to those expectations.

WAIT, WHAT IS IT REALLY?

Okay, use us for example. At Gerber, we outline our service expectations with clients, and each other, from day one. We make a promise to clients that we will deliver on items within a certain time frame. From there, we have internal reports to measure where we are with these deliverables and we review together every Monday morning in our team meeting. The process is all very visible and team members are held accountable.

But it’s more than putting the details in writing and running a few reports; it’s having a plan. – Even better, having a variety of plans. Operations can (and inevitably will) go wrong with Plan A, so ensure you have a variety of plans to fall back on with a Plan B, and even a Plan C.

If ever in danger of not meeting a deadline, we have a backup plan. We make it a point to re-set expectations with the client – because sometimes, issues are out of your hands. If a situation does occur, throwing a wrench in our typical process, we work internally to delegate and help out as a team to ensure we deliver on our promise.

WHY DO I NEED IT?

Customer service is key in any industry; it’s making expectations clear and then delivering on those expectations that helps your company reach success.

If you make a promise to deliver your product/service to a client within a set amount of time, you best be able to keep it.

Take a look at Amazon. Amazon has changed our expectation of service. The customer, before even making a purchase, is given the date in which they will receive said product. Upon purchase, the customer is then confirmed with the date and even time of day they should expect the package. This is great for the Amazon user, but raises the bar just that much higher for all other services and providers out there servicing the same client base, as that becomes the new services standard.

Thanks, Amazon.

FINAL THOUGHTS

All in all, communicating with the client is key. Revisit your client base and your CSM at least annually to stay on top of necessary adjustments.

Opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.


INDEX
  • ASK GERBER: HOW DO I HELP EASE EMPLOYEE STRESS DURING BUSY SEASON ?
  • ASK GERBER: DO I NEED TO HIRE HR?
  • ASK GERBER : DO I NEED A CEO?
  • ASK GERBER: DO I NEED TO HIRE A COO?
  • ASK GERBER: DO I NEED TO HIRE A CMO?
  • ASK GERBER: DO I NEED TO HIRE A CFO?
  • ASK GERBER: HOW DO I KEEP PASSION AND PROFITS TOP OF MIND IN MY BUSINESS?
  • ASK GERBER: WHY DO I NEED TO INVEST IN HOSTING AN ANNUAL RETREAT FOR MY TEAM?
  • ASK GERBER: HOW CAN I ENGAGE WITH MY CLIENTS/PROSPECTS WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK?
  • ASK GERBER: WHAT IS A CLIENT SERVICE MATRIX? PART DEUX
  • ASK GERBER: WHAT IS A CLIENT SERVICE MATRIX? PART ONE
  • ASK GERBER: THE HIRING PROCESS. WHY IS IT SO DAMN HARD?
  • ASK GERBER: WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW AND GROW YOUR COMPANY CULTURE
  • ASK GERBER: HOW DO I ACHIEVE THE WORK/LIFE BALANCE AS A BUSY ENTREPRENEUR?
  • ASK GERBER: HOW DO I PREPARE MY FRIENDS FOR LIFE AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?
  • ASK GERBER: FIRST GENERATION ENTREPRENEURS AND BUSINESS EXECUTIVES, HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?
  • ASK GERBER: I PUT SO MUCH OF MYSELF INTO MY BUSINESS THAT I WORRY I AM FALLING SHORT AS A SPOUSE AND PARENT. WHAT CAN I DO?
  • ASK GERBER: ARE CHILDREN OF FIRST-GENERATION ENTREPRENEURS MORE LIKELY TO BE SPOILED?
  • ASK GERBER: WHAT'S YOUR STANCE ON REMOTE ACCESS FOR EMPLOYEES?
  • ASK GERBER: WHEN DO I NEED TO HIRE AN ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT?
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