Gaining an Advantage by Knowing Your Clients - Inside and Out
By Sally Glick - At a recent marketing program I attended there was a good amount of discussion around the ability of all firms – both large and small – to deliver a high level of client service. At the meeting we talked about fact that the “services” clients value most are not the core competencies of our profession, such as technical expertise like accounting and tax. Rather, most clients want – and need – a trusted advisor. What this means for everyone in public accounting is that they must have a better understanding of each client's unique situation. Based on the company’s life cycle, the owner or management team may be in the early stages of a start-up phase, a maturity or growth phase, or they may even (especially for those who are Baby Boomers!) be preparing for the final stage, which includes an exit strategy. But whatever stage they are in, they need your guidance, advice and solutions. When you have a real understanding of their industry trends, global influences, economic constraints, as well their as family’s aspirations and their goals and dreams, then you can call yourself their trusted advisor.
Right about now you might be asking yourself how all this ties into marketing. This is a marketing blog – right? Well, it seems clear that committing to the highest level of client care is your most effective marketing approach! The more you deliver, the happier and more satisfied your clients will be. Through the development of meaningful and deep relationships with your clients you will be in a position to consistently offer more services, bill more hours and add more value, which often translates into higher fees. If the goal of a good marketing communications and branding plan is to ultimately identify high quality clients that you can attract and retain over time, then focusing on client service should be a top priority.
I’d love to hear how you have evolved your client service platform to provide your firm with a marketing edge!
Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, will lead a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.