Client Satisfaction Starts with ‘Likeability’

Why do Big Four Firms Put Best People at Clients’ Disposal? It’s NOT common sense!

In “The 9 Building Blocks of a Winning Vision that the Big Four Have Discovered,” August J. Aquila and Robert J. Lees brought out the common vision elements of Big Four firms. And one of them is “put the best people at our clients’ disposal.”

It’s NOT common sense! It’s actually human behavioral science. You will be surprised to know how this works at a much deeper level than you think.

What a paradox! At your firm, wouldn’t your best people shoulder several responsibilities at the same time, leaving them hardly any time with clients? Then why do Big Four firms actually do it?

Aquila and Lees go on to say that all nine building blocks refer to clients and people – the two markets in which all firms operate and successful firms persuade people in both markets to choose their firm rather than its competitors. In other words, the business environment is the same for all firms and to win, you need to do something that really makes critical difference to your clients and prospects.

Persuasion and influence are two different things though. Persuasion is merely the process of changing people’s thoughts. Influence, is changing their entire belief system. Persuasion is “compliance to your thoughts” whereas influence is “conversion of their belief systems“. In his groundbreaking, best selling book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini brought out 6 key principles of influence.

Of these six principles, one is “Liking” and one more is “Authority”.

Cialdini says that we’re more likely to be influenced by people we like. Likability comes in many forms – people might be similar or familiar to us. People are more likely to buy from people like themselves, from friends, and from people they know and respect. Hence it is of paramount importance that number of “client interactions” is increased to better your chance of achieving likability. This is also the reason why “frequent meetings where clients interact with each other” could be important a strategy, as clients can positively influence each other.

Cialdini further states that we feel a sense of duty or obligation to people in positions of authority and such people can persuade us to accept what they say. In other words, you need to put your best, most knowledgeable, subject matter authority people in client facing roles.

Put your best people at your clients’ disposal and increase their interactions with clients to increase your firm’s likability; and you will influence your clients’ buying behavior.

HOW would you free up your best peoples’ time, is a different challenge though!

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