Barbara – your insights are right on target! One of the great advantages that small firms have is their close connection with their clients. This intimacy is often missing in the much larger, more impersonal regional and national firms. So, to follow up on your point – how do you create raving fans?
Years ago, working in my father’s solo accounting practice, we noticed that clients called him for advice on financial issues, but equally as often on a wide range of related business topics. In fact, we used to chide him that he spent as much time as a family psychologist as he did as an accountant! Small firms have this great advantage – they know what is going on in almost every aspect of their clients lives. Instead of being reactive, they can be proactive. Reading an article in the local business journal, or observing best practices in a particular industry, provides the opportunity to pick up the phone and make a call. When you reach out to a client – not to return a call but to generate one – you create a loyal fan. Doing the unexpected, adding value, sharing insights – all of these are deeply appreciated by most clients. What else are the rest of you doing in your firms to attract, and retain, your clients as ‘raving fans?’