Client-oriented fee structures
Clients value certainty and transparency.
Many companies are questioning whether it’s appropriate these days to charge for services by the hour. Should we be moving away from the proven pricing systems of old in favour of new methods?
Digitalisation has changed the way we work with clients. Processes are more efficient, communication more targeted. This general awareness also affects fee structures. What’s needed are modern, straightforward methods that are fit for purpose in today's world. Conventional fee structures are increasingly being called into question. Clients expect more certainty around costs before they award an engagement.
It’s worth reviewing service and fee structures
New fee models are one way to address client interests more effectively. Charging for services rather than hours provides the certainty clients crave and enables them to plan more accurately. It also shifts the focus to quality rather than just quantity of work. Client-oriented fee structures are about understanding client needs and the value of the services on offer. The very process of developing pricing strategies enables the value of a service to be set out transparently and comprehensibly. Client satisfaction is the most important thing.
It’s vital that fee structures reflect the corporate culture and are aligned with the company's strategic planning. Client-oriented fee structures are not just evident on the invoice. They represent an underlying mindset. Things like the way client requests are handled, and the attitude conveyed for must-win engagements.
This new pricing form also has a positive impact on client relationships. Charging for services instead of hours gives the client financial planning certainty. Comprehensible and transparent fees meet client expectations and increase acceptance. Service-oriented billing also serves as a shared point of reference for both service provider and recipient, reducing potential for conflict.
Standardised and flexible
Standardisation is an ongoing topic in the discussion on client-oriented fee structures. However, the true art of pricing is about getting the right level of flexibility. Clients value being able to define the scope of services themselves, and can see immediately how this impacts fees.
BDO also views client-oriented fee structures as the future and is already applying them successfully in various projects. One example is our range of standardised and digital payroll services (www.bdo.ch/lohn) consisting of four base modules. Within the ‘Optimum’ module, we offer various optional add-ons. Clients select the level of service they require and get financial planning certainty in return.
In conclusion, a transparent and consistent fee structure creates higher client satisfaction. This alone is reason enough to consider alternative forms of pricing.