A Detail Audit: Mapping Your Client's Journey

A Detail Audit: Mapping Your Client's Journey

A Detail Audit: Mapping Your Client’s Journey

By: Christine Hollinden

We all witnessed the build up and somewhat “let down” of the Super Bowl ads this month. On average, companies spent $4 million per 30-second advertisement during the game. Industry reports, however, clearly show that the investment in a Super Bowl ad will have little, if any, impact on sales. In fact, studies have shown that consumers have little recollection of the actual product being sold in a specific advertisement (with few exceptions – the Budweiser Clydesdales are simply iconic). Traditional or online, the most successful marketing entails every aspect of your business, no matter the industry. The difference is in what your clients notice most: small details – the elements that initiate and build a lasting impression both internal and external.

Perform a comprehensive detail audit. Map your client’s journey from beginning to end. Consider the following elements:

       Deliverables. Professional service firms provide a high value deliverable to the client and often, the devil is in the details. While you may have spent hours preparing a report or analysis, a minute formatting error, misspelling, miscalculation, or missed deadline can be a huge detriment to the overall client relationship and diminish the value of the finished product. 

External elements. From verbal and written communications to advertising, sponsorships, and networking, is your firm focusing on the details to strategically plan for external marketing initiatives? Does your team have a cohesive eSignature in emails? Is your logo the same color and font across all marketing collateral? Does your external message truly convey your brand’s value – down to the font used across written communications? Consistency is key.


Team. The team plays a very powerful role in the overall success of your firm. It is the patterns of behavior within your organization that shape the client experience. Have you hired the right people to uphold the integrity of your business by recognizing the importance of details? Does your team take responsibility for the firm’s success? Do they understand their impact on the service experience? It’s up to your team to carry out the quality promise you make in external marketing communications – are you fulfilling your promise? 

 Ambiance. While the web site has become the modern day storefront, office space still plays a vital role for successful professional service firms. Does both the exterior of the building, as well as the interior design support the image you want to portray? Are doors and doorknobs clean and polished? Do the pictures in your office reflect the personality of your firm in a consistent manner? Does your web site give clear, concise information regarding parking? Is signage clear? Is the parking area clean and well lit?

What's that first impression visitors receive when they enter your office lobby? Are they greeted with a smile? What happens when someone calls? Hint: call your company (from an anonymous or new outside line – not your cell or home phone) and find out what it's really like from a client’s perspective. Better yet, have someone you know call from his office and listen in.


Internal elements. Take a tour of your business from the outside in. View every interaction from all five senses. What does a client see, touch, hear, smell and taste (think coffee)? Do you like what you experience? Is it better than just average? What can you do to move the entire experience from average to excellent? Are internal processes supporting the external mission?


Lasting impression. Small details build a large and lasting chain of reactions that take in every sensory emotion. One bad link weakens the entire chain – and your client defects elsewhere, despite whatever amount you may have invested in marketing. Treat each client independently. Take time to get to know their preferences and develop a process of capturing this information. Use that knowledge to enhance the experience. Your client will be pleasantly surprised when you have their Tazo Zen Green Tea at the ready.


Shift. Involve every detail of your business in your marketing paradigm. When you treat advertising and marketing as a modular department, it becomes solely focused on external elements. Assume that your competitors get most of the big things right. It’s the details that matter most. I guarantee it’ll be details that your clients actually remember and cost a lot less than $4 million and last a lot longer than a 30-second spot.