I am sure you have read about the importance of defining your ideal client, their pain points, and streamlining your messaging to address how you help fill one of their needs or provide solutions to their problems. This is the basis of building a recognizable brand, running effective marketing campaigns, and ultimately generating revenue.
Ideally, you define your target market so well that your book of business is filled with those exact type clients. But, what actually happens in the real world over time is that many service-based businesses wake up to realize they are actually servicing a range of different client types. Each type is receiving a different level of service and not necessarily paying an amount commensurate with the capacity they occupy.
Not only does operating this way increase the odds your clients will receive sub-par service, but can make you feel like you’re constantly chasing your tail trying to keep everyone happy. If this sounds like you, you aren’t alone. In fact, this happens more often than not. It results from the desire to succeed and generate revenue and be helpful, but it’s a slippery slope. Luckily, this situation can be remedied by physically charting:
- Your four client segments
- The level of service for each
- How much time each segment will occupy
- How much each segment contributes to profitability
- Which team members will provide the services for each
Performing this exercise and revisiting the chart annually can completely transform the effectiveness, culture, and profitability of a service-based business. Physically writing out and seeing how these elements align will help you to:
1. Protect Your Resources:
We all only have so much time, energy, and money to contribute to our business on any given day, so the most valuable thing a business owner can do is to maximize the use of those limited resources. By segmenting your client list, you work to protect the time, energy, and profits you generate. How? By setting clear expectations about which services will be provided to whom, by whom, when, and how frequently.
There is no guesswork for yourself or your staff on how to service a certain client from month to month or year to year. There are clear boundaries that dictate how much time each client will occupy and how much you will be compensated for that time. The chart will also help you to decide which types of clients you have the capacity to take on as your business grows.
2. Protect Your Sanity:
The “soft” benefit to service and segmentation charting is, simply put, peace of mind. Having too many clients can lead to undue stress and eventually workplace burnout. Workplace burnout is a serious concern for business owners who dedicate so much of their lives to seeing their business succeed. The byproducts of this condition could be disastrous and lead to employee dissatisfaction, a low customer retention rate, decreased staff profitability, and high employee turnover. Of course, all of these can significantly injure your bottom line.
3. Keep Team Members Accountable:
Part of the service and segmentation chart is identifying which members of the team will handle the services provided to each client segment. Generally, associate staff will manage the lowest tier clients while higher-level executives will manage higher tiered clients. When the roles that are expected are clearly delineated, there is less a chance that important tasks will fall through the cracks. It also serves as a way to ensure staff know what is expected of them at any given time.
4. Confirm all efforts are Essential to healthy growth
The charting process is an exercise in Essentialism, a concept explained by Greg McKeown. It requires offboarding clients or entire segments that hinder rather than further your growth year over year. The result? Increased profitability, more time and energy, and clarity around purpose.
While this essentialist approach may feel unnatural or be tough to implement at first, it’s an exercise that absolutely must be done to protect the growth, culture, quality of your business. Even if the changes that result from this exercise cause some initial discomfort, the discomfort is only temporary. The longevity of your business is worth it.
If you find yourself in need of more assistance, you can reach out to me or purchase our DIY Client Clarity and Experience Course with templates to guide you.