I just finished reading the book called “Managing the Professional Service Firm” by the former Harvard Business School Professor David H. Maister. The book covers various subjects professional service firms have to manage in order to succeed, including strategy, marketing, profitability and motivating of employees.
In the Chapter 8 of the book, the author discusses a large-scale study which they conducted when writing the book.
According to the study, most of the professional service firms, including law firms and IP firms, understand the difference between technical quality of the work and the service quality. Most of the firms also understand the importance of the service quality as a contributing factor in client satisfaction.
What did the corporate purchasers say according to the book?
When corporate purchasers of these services were asked about technical quality of the work, the satisfaction levels were high on a consistent basis. But when they were asked about the quality of the service, satisfaction rates were constantly low and there were numerous complaints.
The most relevant discovery, however, was this: Only 10 % of the professional purchasers would refer your company forward based on the quality and results of your work. On the other hand, 90 % of the purchasers would refer your firm forward based on the quality of your service.
This was quite shocking discovery. But it makes sense.
As IP professionals perform consistently at a very high level, it is hard to make distinctions between IP firms based on the technical quality of the work. High quality level of technical work is the default.
On the other hand, if you deliver quality client experience which is consistent, you stand out because the bar is not set high according to the study.
What does this mean?
Quality of your technical IP work should be excellent on default. However, you will get a big difference in referred work, if you know how to deliver a great customer experience for your clients.