Managing the Professional Service Firm: Part Two: Quality Service (2 of 3)

Why did I chose this resource?

MaisterThis is a continuation of my previous post. The organization and structure of Anant is based in large part upon the concepts outlined in Managing the Professional Service Firm. Understanding the foundations of how we approach our work will benefit the company as we refine our operational and profit models.

What did you learn from it?

At its core, what we do is about client preferences and NOT the preferences of the professional (services firm). The concept of customer centered service is paramount. Clients do not necessarily have the technical knowledge to be able to correctly evaluate the quality of the work we perform. As a result, they will evaluate their experience based on quality service instead of the technical product. Essentially how we go about our work influences a customer’s satisfaction more than what we do. Of course, if we don’t produce a working product, that trumps any other evaluation. However, when two firms that offer identical services are compared, it’s the firm that produces the better customer experience that will earn more future business. Our competitive advantage is our customer service.

Key Knowledge

  • First Law of Service: SATISFACTION equals PERCEPTION minus EXPECTATION.
  • Keys to client satisfaction in order of importance are availability, affability, and ability.
  • People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
  • Treat each client according to their preferences (i.e., treat difference clients differently).
  • Discuss at the earliest possible point all potential roadblocks, detours, and contingencies that may arise, and make it clear how your firm will handle them.
  • It’s about preferences of the client NOT preferences of the professional.

How are you using what you learned?

We already have in place client outreach for projects in emailstaging. However, it is not used effectively or consistently. Customer attention is, overall, very good. But there we don’t have a set of institutionalized requirements/policies/procedures that would help us standardize and raise the level of our client experience. In emergencies, we tend to be very attentive and do a great job. When it comes to longer term maintenance situations, our level of service is not as high (I personally am a roadblock here).

Key Changes / Key Actions

  • Improve emailstaging and it’s execution
    • delegate the responsibility for sending them
    • improve content and grammar
    • set internal deadline for sending
  • Send clients internal notes from our weekly meetings
  • Improve the institutionalization of the Kaizen form
  • Re-evaluate our quality service program

Additional Information

Article by David Maister titled The Anatomy of a Consulting Firm.


  • Name : Managing the Professional Service Firm
  • Author : David Maister
  • Dropbox: Link to Book

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