I have just returned from the annual conference for the Association for Accounting Marketers (AAM) and I feel as if my battery has been recharged and I am now armed with some exciting new ideas and best practices that I was exposed to throughout the three days of the summit.
I will share these with you over the next few weeks and would love to hear from you regarding some of these ideas and how you might apply them at your own firm.
Regardless of the size of your firm, it is important for you to let the client define how you can be great. In other words, don’t set standards of what you consider to be world-class service, but instead simply ask each client what you need to do for them to consider you as a really great accountant. Each client may have a different expectation of you and once you have this knowledge it will be much easier to deliver what they really want and value.
You can do this in person – which is most effective – or through an online, e-mail or paper survey. The problem with any delivery mechanism is that you will most likely not get a great response rate, or clients may tend to say that the status quo is appropriate. In person dialogue, however, may yield much different results. A brief meeting over lunch with each of your “red carpet” clients may uncover some interesting information for you that you can use to design a distinctive approach for that specific client. Questions can include:
• How often should we be communicating with you?
• Do you prefer general information (like newsletters) to be sent via e-mail or other postal mail?
• Is e-mail as effective as a phone call? Under what circumstances is it not appropriate?
• Do you want us to offer more targeted educational web-inars, seminars and roundtables; if so, what topics are most relevant for you?
• What do you call ‘excellent service?’
• How can we be more proactive?
When you obtain answers to these and other queries, you will have a clearer picture of what the client defines as significant and you will be able to address their needs and even exceed their expectations.