clients

Rising to Your Clients’ Needs

Peter J. Strauss

As those of us in the professional client service arena know, it’s pretty hard to come up with a defined list of duties we handle for our clients. Rather, it’s up to us to be intuitive enough and empathic enough to know when our clients require something from us that may not be in our service listing.

As captive insurance managers, we often learn more about our client’s operations, financial position and long-term goals than other service providers. We deal with private business owners who don’t often share their financial results or long-term plans with many others.

But with this access to so much information about a client’s business comes a special duty. We need to be open to what our clients are seeking and address those needs. Our responsibilities may involve taking on additional duties for a client or finding the best third-party service provider to take on the task at hand.

We recently made an offer to our client base to host corporate retreats with our executive team on the topic of their choice. We have already conducted quite a few and the results have been fascinating.

While the most pressing concern varied for each company, every business was at a jumping off point. Succession, managing high growth rates, and competitive positioning were all topics that came up but each had a different set of discussion topics and ultimately desired outcomes.

The freedom to cover each topic away from the demands of the day led to the sharing of even more information and to action plans that served both the business and the owners very well.  We had predicted this outcome as we proposed the retreats but we were truly surprised by the action plans and decision making that occurred in a short time period.

How did this happen?  We took a risk on our intuition about our clients.  As a business owner, I often feel isolated and I knew that if we could create the right setting we could discover our client’s greatest needs and concerns and, in the process, bring our best service to them.

Perhaps most importantly, each business owner, including me, left the sessions with more insight into their business and more confidence about how to tackle the challenges ahead.  Each of us also improved our short-term and long-term operating plans.

Amazing what can happen if you expand your job description and up your client service game!

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