Now is the time to listen to clients in this post-present world, says Susanne Pugsley.
Every day my LinkedIn feed is full of posts talking about the ‘post’ world. But with the recent fuel crises, lack of basics from food to engine parts, and Covid infection rates rising once again it does not very post-Brexit or post-Covid. In fact, it feels to me very much, well, ‘present’.
One of the biggest questions being asked by the legal business development and marketing community is about clients and how to connect with them in this ‘post’ world.
For many, it is becoming an increasingly uncomfortable world where they feel pressure to return to the office and to the old ways of working, encouraged by the persistent media narrative that the crisis is over. Yet for many, it is still ongoing.
Over the recent school half-term holiday, an alarming number of friends and colleagues and their children went down with Covid. Many had been double vaccinated; some had even had Covid in the early days of the pandemic. Most were very ill and not with the assumed lesser effects they’d expected with their protective cloak of vaccination.
But what does all this mean for the future for professional services marketing?
It means that your clients may not want to come into the office or to an event. They are happy with online meetings even if your partners are not.
It means that your lawyers may not want to return to the office. They cannot see a reason to come back and work at a desk that is over an hour from their home when they have happily provided excellent service from the comfort of their own house.
There is a collective agoraphobia amongst those who have enjoyed their lockdown life and an opposing collective euphoria from those who hated it and are now happily skipping into the office for some peace and quiet and support.
So it is not yet the time to say life is back to normal and, moreover, it may never go back to the way it was. It has been a firebreak in the woodlands of our work, and many have no inclination to return to the old long commutes and hours away from family.
So just as before, we need to listen closely to our clients and contacts to better understand what they want and need. Never has client listening been so important as now. Listen and act on what you hear. Never assume an individual’s viewpoint on this post-present world – ask!
Susanne Pugsley has held business development leadership roles across law and accountancy firms. She is the founder of the professional services consultancy firm PSBD. She can be reached by email: email@example.com.