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Let’s face it, businesses in the professional services industry have a pretty poor reputation for the services they provide. You only have to look as far as the Carillion disaster to find the media pointing the blame at yet more professional services firm who might’ve done more.

But why is this? Why are service levels so poor? One reason is that too many businesses are working with the wrong customers.

Here’s what you can learn from their mistakes.

Choosing the right ones

I can think of countless food brands who appear in some supermarkets but not others. These brands know their target audience. They know their price point. They’re selling to the people who’ll enjoy their product, who like how much they paid for it and who might share their brand experience with friends.

So why isn’t every business as selective as this?

A big part of providing a great service to your customers is choosing the right customers. These are the people who’ll value what you do. People who you can understand and empathise with. People who’ll be receptive to your advice.

But too many businesses work with whoever comes through the door instead of thinking about the fit. And it’s a big contributor to the ordinary service lots of people receive.

So how do you find a good fit?

It’s all about identifying the customers who you can give the most to. To start, try these three steps:

•  Create some criteria – ask yourself, why are people coming to you? Is it because they can get a cheap price? Do they hop around using other businesses doing similar things to you? Or, have they been referred to you by someone who you know? (Which in most cases, makes for a good fit.) These kinds of questions will help you create some criteria for the people you should be working with.

•  Figure out who’s not right for you – look at the markets you want to be successful in. Then, choose the right businesses to work with. Figuring out who’s not right in the first place is the easy part…

• The hard part: lose the customers who aren’t right – of course, it’s tougher when you’re already working with people. But if you want to give the best to your best customers, you have to be brutal. Even better – be brave and don’t take them on in the first place.

It’s more enjoyable too

With an increased emphasis on lifestyle at work, people are suddenly realising business doesn’t have to be a misery. More and more people are realising it’s possible to enjoy what they do. And a big part of that is working with people you enjoy working with.

Enjoyment is such an important part of making your life count. So, work with people who are a good fit, who value what you do and who you can do your best work with.


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