I was asked to deliver a session on ‘how to deliver good client service’ for a top 50 accountancy practice’s away day.
To help deliver a good session for my client, I spoke to three of their clients to find out what they really wanted, in terms of good client service, from their accountant, and how well my client measured up.
In the course of doing my research, it was interesting to hear “what clients really want…”
And guess what, there were no surprises: what clients want from any provider is broadly similar.
- Accessibility and responsiveness
- Pro-active and takes the initiative
- Value for money
- Two-way timely conversations – particularly around fees
- Personable and speaks my language
- Technical excellence
Now, this isn’t news – most of us think that we know what our clients really want, and how to deliver good client service.
My client certainly thought they did, and in broad terms, they were delivering very well on client service. But after this exercise, they realised that they’d been assuming that they knew what their customers wanted – they’d never formally or informally asked them.
I’m sure that they’re not alone. How many of you actually have conversations with your customers to ask what it is they want?
Do you have formal processes and systems in place to regularly ask for formal/informal feedback (ideally using an impartial third party)?
At the start of a new client relationship, ask them how they prefer to communicate: are they an email or phone person? What, in their views, constitutes excellent client service?
Once you’ve gathered this information, it’s important you don’t just sit on it. Relay the client’s preferences to all of the relevant team members who deal with the client’s account.
Remember: it’s seven to 14 times easier to get more work out of an existing client than a new client.
Delivering excellent client service is one of the best ways to generate referrals for you and your practice. It really does impact your bottom line, so make sure you aim to truly deliver great client service.
How do you find out what your clients really want?
Heather Townsend is the author of The Financial Times Guide To Business Networking. and the founder of The Efficiency Coach. Follow her Partnership Potential and Joined Up Networking blog for more useful tips and tricks.
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