The Art of First Class Client Service

29 September 2023 | 6 min read

Author: Norman Taylor, Consultant

As former Managing Director of Ruddle Wilkinson Architects during a period that saw the practice grow from 40 to 140 staff servicing a broad client base of blue-chip clients, Norman Taylor has the perfect experience to share his first-hand insights of securing, developing and nurturing long-standing client relationships.


The ability to maintain or – even better – enhance client relationships is an important skill.


And, as we all know, customer satisfaction is paramount for repeat business, referrals and client references. So, how do you ensure client happiness? Brilliant service and support are vital, of course, but that’s only half the story. Here are four rules that will serve you well:

  • Never overpromise and underdeliver.
  • Be clear on what you are going to do for clients.
  • Constantly check that what you have done aligns with expectations.
  • Stay in regular communication.

Clients expect to be at the centre of your world, so the absolute golden rule is making them feel like they are your only client. Win their loyalty and you won’t have to worry about others poaching them.



So, why do we sometimes neglect existing clients?

  • The size of the client or project is thought to be too small.
  • You take the repeat work for granted.
  • You don’t already have a strong relationship with them.
  • Winning new clients is more fun.
  • Marketing plans are often aimed at winning new clients.

OK, but you can’t stretch yourself too thin either. So, how do you decide who your key clients are?

  • Size of client.
  • Amount of work secured.
  • Strength of relationship.
  • Potential for new work.


A mixture of these factors should help you identify, say, 20 key clients. My advice is to do what it takes to maintain or, even better, positively develop your relationship with them. That means keeping in regular contact with them and doing whatever you can to add value to them as individuals and their business.

A wise person once said: “Your billable time determines your income, but your non-billable time determines your future.” This begs the question: Are you spending your non-billable hours constructively?

It’s vital to fully understand your client and their business, how they work, their business drivers, their problems and how you can help. So, listen to your clients via structured discussions and a satisfaction feedback system so you can really get to know what they think. 

If you think like your clients, you can think for them.



Clients, like professionals, need to meet peers to develop their businesses, understand the marketplace, spot potential partnerships, etc. So, introducing them to networking opportunities is a great idea. They may be looking for a new funder or lawyer. But remember, try to make the introduction relevant to their business.



Research by Interbrand shows that winning new clients is due to a combination of factors:

  • 45% is down to personal chemistry.
  • 30% is down to showing we care and being enthusiastic.
  • 20% is down to past work and track record.
  • 5% is down to price.



  • 90% of clients don’t complain – they stop giving you new work.
  • 90% of dissatisfied clients don’t come back.
  • 13% of dissatisfied clients tell 20 others!


So, don’t just assume everything’s OK! Keep working on those key relationships. Make each client feel like they’re your only one.

Let’s Talk


Tel: 020 8138 5560


111 Charterhouse Street,
London, EC1M 6AW


Julian Davies

Julian Davies

Managing Partner at Redfin

Managing partner and Chartered Accountant with 30+ years of experience in marketing, media, and creative industries. He leads the Redfin team, offering expert advice on growth and profitability. Former owner manager of an agency acquired by a listed group; his industry insights are second to none. Off duty, you might find him on the golf or tennis court, determined to master new tricks.
Shelley Watkin

Shelley Watkin

Client Finance Director at Redfin

A qualified Chartered Accountant with 20+ years of experience in the marketing services sector. During her 5+ years at Redfin, she served as Client Finance Director offering invaluable insights into strategic and commercial matters. Shelley has also assumed the role of Finance Director for various creative agencies, guiding them through successful sales processes. If she gets free time after managing her children’s busy schedules, she likes to chill out doing yoga and gardening.