Out With the Old, In with the You

It was late December, 2015. I had been with Greysteel for three months at that point, and already I felt like I had a to-do list that would take me longer to read through than a Saturday visit to the DMV. I was sitting at my desk, staring at a blank Microsoft Word document, attempting to organize my thoughts on Greysteel’s 2016 marketing strategy and goals. It was late, I was tired, and that damn blinking cursor on the screen was relentlessly taunting me. My thoughts began to wander and I started to ask myself what really mattered. Sponsorships? Events? Press releases? Media coverage? Swag for conferences? Gifts for clients? Wait a second…

Clients. That last one made me stop and think. Aren’t they really at the beating heart of what mattered? All that other stuff has its place and purpose, of course, but at the end of the day, it all falls by the wayside if we aren’t taking care of our clients.

That sounds trite, doesn’t it? “Clients come first. Clients matter. It’s all about the client.” There is no revolutionary thinking there. Yet after working in the professional services industry for over a decade, I couldn’t point to more than a handful of examples where that belief was put into practice. Most efforts were superficial at best, like including “Client service is at the core of everything we do” in the mission statement, or thinking about the client service experience in pieces rather than holistically.

So if what really matters is obvious and established, why do so many otherwise good companies fail at executing on it? I don’t claim to have the answer, but I do have a theory. My theory is that companies create a product or service or experience or process with very good intentions. They believe they have their clients’ best interests at heart and they proudly present these benefits on a silver platter and say “I made this for you.” This is where the breakdown occurs. Too many companies make the assumption they know what their clients want, and many times, they are off the mark. So instead, I contend that what they should be saying is, “I made this with you.”

Voila. I had my answer and took my vengeance out on that smug blinking cursor.

Now that I have sufficiently buried the lead, fast forward about twelve months to today and I am more than proud to say we have made something fantastic with you, our clients. We also did it in-house, with our incredible team of graphic designers. First, we completely redesigned our property marketing materials from the ground up. The result is a more modern, polished and enticing set of tools that help showcase our clients’ properties, attract the best buyers and financiers, and catalyze optimal transactions. Second, we are integrating new platforms that will address many of the frustrations our clients experience across the industry, particularly with respect to document access and confidentiality.

We didn’t build this for our clients; we built this with our clients, assimilating their input throughout the entire process. I continue to welcome our clients’ feedback throughout the year as we methodically roll out additional features and capabilities that address the Greysteel client experience holistically and emphatically.