For over 15 years beaton has run the Client Choice Awards, the only cross-profession and client-judged awards in the world. The Awards celebrate excellent client service in Australia and New Zealand and re-affirm professional services firms' commitment to continuous improvement and client feedback.
We started these Awards to reward client-centric firms and collect feedback that inform firms' brands and CX-enhancing strategies.
We expected the Awards would cause a small buzz.
What we got from the very first year was a deafening roar.
The 2005 special edition of BRW announcing the winners that was published the day after the inaugural Client Choice Awards (BRW was the Awards' first media partner) sold out so quickly that Fairfax had to order additional print runs.
In subsequent years the reaction of firms to winning our Awards has become ever louder.
Why do Client Choice Awards winners party so hard and long?
Partying is a natural – and normally quite short-lived – way of celebrating a win. But the behaviours of winning firms and their people in the Client Choice Awards tell us more. Winners place much greater store on the accolade than a night on the town. LinkedIn and Twitter erupt as each winner is announced. Emails to clients and staff fly around after midnight immediately following the ceremony. The next morning Awards badges go into email signatures, banners appear and remain for months in reception areas and advertisements are placed in the business press. In ensuing months Winners’ certificates are included in tenders for work and advertisements to fill staff vacancies. Client Choice Awards winners party hard and long. Why?
Based on the amount of creative energy winning firms invest in celebrating their wins, we have long speculated about the economic and social benefits professional services firms derive from winning a Client Choice Award.
From our conversations with winning firms, we posit that benefits of winning include:
Reduced cost of retaining existing clients and attracting new ones;
Increased price-setting discretion and a resulting increase in margin;
Reduced cost in acquiring new talent and retaining existing talent; and
Boosted staff morale, increased discretionary effort and resultant increase in productivity.
Where are firms investing all these benefits?
Using nine consecutive years of high-quality data, we decided to investigate.
Our analysis suggests that firms are investing the economic benefits of winning Client Choice Awards into their most important stakeholders, their clients!
Even after accounting for the general upward trend of client service levels over time, our analysis found the number of years a firm has won a Client Choice Award is a significant predictor of a firm’s delivery of superior client satisfaction.
Importantly, we found that this effect was cumulative, as the chart shows.
The real winners of the Client Choice Awards are the clients! This is a truly virtuous loop.
The statistical method for our analysis involves measuring the Overall Client Service (OCS) score for each respondent and relating this to how many years the firm had previously won a Client Choice Award. Since 2005 more than 180,000 clients have responded to our surveys, providing over 300,000 ratings of more than 500 professional services firms in Australia and New Zealand.
Nine firms who have won an award more than five times over the past 15 years: Gilbert + Tobin, Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, Douglas Partners, Golder, GTA Consultants, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills, KPMG and HLB Mann Judd. beaton salutes them!
Having found this insight, we plan further research, quantitatively demonstrating the link between winning and economic benefits. We intend to investigate the relationship between entering, reaching the finals, winning and how firms use OCS and related data to improve their clients’ CX.
Our thanks to Grant Hollings, our Research Manager colleague, for his rigorous QA of our analysis and interpretation of the data.
For more information on our research and how to enter the Client Choice Awards, contact the beaton team +613 8373 2600.
If you are a client of a professional services firm, you should encourage them to enter! All entrants can get access to authoritative, independent client feedback to help improve their value to clients like you.