Accountants are great at offering the technical financial support and advice that a customer needs. However, the focus on understanding and improving customer satisfaction can be sidelined - especially in small and medium sized firms where the focus is on generating fee revenue.
The ACCA agrees and in its recent article on using customer feedback in accountancy firms it quotes the founder of SightMill feedback platform on using feedback effectively.
To be as successful as possible, every business should aspire to not only deliver a great product but also a great service. So for professional service organisations, such as accountancy firms, it's incredibly important to dedicate work and effort to understanding and improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Ensuring there is sufficient effort applied to customer satisfaction avoids a common mistake of not prioritising this key way of deliver a great service that, in both the short and long-term, will otherwise negatively impact both short term profitability potential but also long-term sustainability.
Satisfied clients are valuable clients. For the existing customer base, the lifetime value of these customers can be very significant to the financial health of your accountancy firm - so keeping then satisfied, or ideally delighted, should be a primary focus for your business.
Moreover, satisfied customers are likely to be more willing to buy additional products and services from you as well as being more willing to accept price increases. By building the customer relationship with the accountancy firm itself, the firm can better withstand the impact to staff changes and will be more resilient to clients moving when staff leave.
From a new business perspective, satisfied customers are far more likely to recommend your firm to their network, so creating a low cost source of warm potential new business opportunities.
So managing customer satisfaction is important and not something that should be an afterthought. Ideally, you should aim to make a focus on customer satisfaction a key performance indicator for your business. Importantly, you can achieve all this without having to hire a new team for marketing, customer service or business development.
A great way of doing this is to use the industry-standard Net Promoter Score (NPS) system. It was developed by Bain and is used by thousands of customer-centric companies to deliver great customer service. At its core, is a deceptively simple question that reads 'Would you recommend xxx product or brand to your friends or colleagues' and inviting you to respond with a score between 0-10. This simple question is normally followed-up with a second free-text question asking why you gave that particular score.
By regularly surveying your client base, using off-the-shelf tools, you will be able to better understand how your customers view you and begin to act on the feedback to help fix problems and improve satisfaction and loyalty.
Using a platform such as SightMill, allows you to send NPS surveys by email or add a survey to a page on your website. The platform lets you analyse the results and act on the feedback. SightMill includes a range of tools that lets you see trends and patterns in the scoring - perhaps as you change your pricing structure or add a new service or change your website or brand.
Acting on the feedback is incredibly important and SightMill can help you do this manually or link to your CRM system (if you have one) to automate the whole process. By better understanding your clients, you can route customer responses and feedback to the right department in your firm so issues and opportunities can be dealt with quickly. As Tolley Tax Intelligence said "It's really powerful to hear and act on the feedback from our delegates in real-time to make our training experience ever better; the SightMill team has been great at help us achieve this".
So, by starting to ask your clients what they think of your firm, your team, your service levels, you will also understand your clients and naturally build a better, stronger connection with them. It will start to decrease the gap between what a client wants and what an accountant provides.
By applying NPS through easy-to-use tools, specifically designed to help gather customer feedback and help you act on it quickly, you'll start to orientate your firm to those clients who are loyal and act as promoters, recommending your practice to their network. And that can only be good for your long-term business.
Create your free account now and you'll be able to start acting on customer feedback in real-time.
"It's really powerful to hear and act on the feedback from our delegates in real-time to make our training experience ever better; the SightMill team has been great at helping us achieve this."
Want to find out more? It's easy to try it out yourself with a free account. Or read more about how to add NPS feedback to your website.