Our clients cannot judge the technical quality of some services even after they have received them. The designing and engineering services are high in credence qualities – characteristics the buyer normally finds hard to evaluate even after consumption. How could someone for example evaluate a technical report on the durability of an existing structure?
The credence qualities factor has several consequences. Our clients generally:
- Rely on word of mouth,
- Rely heavily on previous service experience, and
- Are highly loyal to firms who satisfy them.
And since switching costs are high, client inertia can make it challenging to entice a client away from a competitor.
Clients are looking for firms that they can trust. The act of hiring a professional engineering firm is by very definition, an act of faith. They are not just buying a designing service; they are entering into a relationship. Our task is to earn their trust and confidence - with an emphasis on the word “earn.”
Conversations built trust. An increasing percentage of professional services are awarded at the pre-proposal stage: the formal proposal or presentation merely confirm (or destroy) a decision already made.
There is an old saying about doctors that they “get fascinated with the disease, but not interested in the patient.” Too many of us get overly focused on technical matters, and lose sight of the essential relationship nature of professional transactions. Having technical skills is only a necessary condition for success, not a sufficient one. The key is empathy - the ability to enter clients’ world and see it through their eyes.
Tags: for clients