Super-Prime Client Care and How To Deliver It
September 16, 2016|Wealth Management
- here is one important aspect of what we do that’s as critical to the success of our business as the quality of our design work. Exceptional client service or client care as we call it, sits at the heart of our brand and is underpinned by our Thoughtful Luxury approach.
Expectations have risen in the last decade. Our discerning clients demand more than ever; they are increasingly time poor and look to us to take the lead on a project. With this has come an increased level of personalised attention and the need to provide a bespoke service to each client. We work with both private and corporate clients, all with individual needs, but what unites them is their desire for a good client experience. This element is now so essential to what we do, it has become the driving force in determining overall client satisfaction and helping us establish strong relationships.
The concept of luxury has changed in the last decade, with an increased emphasis being placed on the overall customer experience. Some luxury brands have redefined themselves based on giving their customers a unique and memorable experience. This is because it helps create an emotional connection to the brand. It is memories that stay with us, often for life. This is why outstanding client service now truly defines a luxury brand and for long-term success, it needs to be a 360-degree experience that demonstrates the value the brand brings.
We have worked with some of our clients for many years, but what has determined the longevity of these relationships is largely down to the quality of client care. We provide a full turnkey service from concept to completion, often getting involved in the purchase decision of a property; so excellent client service must be delivered consistently from start to finish. The priority is to earn trust, as this helps clients feel more comfortable with letting you into their homes. After this, being empathetic and understanding their needs becomes fundamental to delivering a successful project. But it’s also the combination of getting the basics right such as meeting agreed timelines, having a good team that understands, and going above and beyond expectations. The approach we take for private and corporate clients is almost the same, except for one important difference. Private individuals tend to be emotionally driven and favour a very personalised approach. Corporate clients, on the other hand, are principally concerned with the more practical elements of a project, such as delivery and efficiency. In this instance, good client care means having an expert team in place, providing information on time and to budget.
Despite these differences, for both client types, delivering the right level of service ultimately requires an understanding of their needs at every stage of the process, and being able to fulfil them every time. In essence, this means being transparent, being available and taking good care of their property. When it comes to private projects in particular, we always respect the fact that we are not just entering their homes, we are learning intimate details about their private lives as well. We are fortunate that we get on well with our clients and this helps us service them correctly, but we are never complacent about the relationship we have with them.
When we work in our clients’ homes, discretion and trust are two vital components that sit at the core of our approach. Internally, we always allocate a team for each project who work on it for its duration and get to know all the details inside out. For external contractors, we only work with those with whom we have an established relationship and who understand our standards and work to them. We have a new contractor conduct policy, ensuring all those involved in the project treat and act as an extension of the Oliver Burns team when they are on site.
A key part of providing good client care is also being sensitive to cultural differences. This is where having a multilingual team in house can be really beneficial. Being able to communicate in the same language allows the client to convey their expectations without the nuances getting lost in translation. This also means we get details right from the beginning and avoid issues further down the line. There are, however, times when projects don’t run as smoothly as they could. The key here is to deal with any problems quickly, seamlessly and without procrastination, otherwise clients get nervous and this can impact the relationship. As the designer and ultimately our client’s trusted advisor, we always strive to demonstrate confidence and a clear ability to deliver at all times.
Without a doubt, delivering good client care is not always easy. Clients can be challenging; they change their minds at the last minute, call at all hours of the day, have difficult requests and ultimately want to feel like they are your only client. This requires a flexible approach and a dedicated, adaptable team. Having the ability to manage all of this and deliver an excellent customer experience, earns you their trust and strengthens the connection you have with them.
For the majority of our clients, our relationship goes beyond simply designer and client; we act as a trusted advisor to them, guiding them on all aspects of super-prime property and their portfolio. Many of our clients have also become friends and this has deepened the level of trust and helped us build strong, long-term relationships. It has also meant that we often go on to work with other members of their families on further projects.
This is the greatest reward for delivering exceptional customer care and why we always endeavour to treat each client as a long-term relationship. A brand’s reputation grows from its repeated ability to satisfy clients, and in luxury design, when you get the customer experience right, it can also mean you have a client for life.
Composed by JB.