Succession Planning or Client Transitioning? It depends on your view.
If you believe your relationships are your “currency”, then you’ll see the importance of looking at succession planning from your clients’ perspective.
Yet, still, most succession planning exercises in professional services consider the mechanics of the transition from professional to professional, without (enough) regard for how it will be received by clients. And firms who take this approach assume their clients will simply follow along and accept service from the new professional. Big mistake? I think so.
What’s the opportunity cost to your firm or to your practice if you consider succession planning from only your view?
At risk are client satisfaction and retention rates.
Wise firms and practice leaders are calling succession planning “client transitioning” instead. But they aren’t just giving it a new name. They are also processing it differently and are recognizing that client transitioning initiatives require both internal and external support:
- A plan: A cohesive plan that includes communication, training and role identification for all professionals involved directly in the transition, as well as ‘in the loop’ type information for the entire firm.
- Client service training: To shift the focus from “What’s in it for me/the firm?” to “What’s in it for the client?” to achieve better client satisfaction and retention rates.
- Coaching support: Tactical support to implement the client transition plan. May include direct client interaction.
- A client communications strategy: Includes client education, communication, expectation setting and role identification related to the transition as well as identification of all mediums and forms for these communications.
- Client-facing communications: Tactical support to create the messages for a variety of mediums; may include client-specific messages as well as general client messages.
Which view would you rather invest in? If you listen to (and follow) your CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0instinct, it will guide you to the client transitioning approach. But will you hear it?
Until next time…
I wish you tremendous business success!
ps. Oh, and by the way, when you let the CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 speak, it will agree that a Client Transition approach is simply, well, service. And a Succession Plan approach? Well, it’s manipulative and self (supplier)-serving.