While at a recent marketing conference hosted by the AICPA, several comments reinforced the importance of culture as a driver of marketing/practice development.
Before you can even think about client retention or new business development, you need to have an environment that consistently nurtures and rewards employees. As Harvard Business Review has pointed out, the happier and more loyal the employees are, the happier and more loyal your clients will be. Loyal and satisfied clients stay longer, use more services and refer more business – and it all starts with your staff.
Rewarding employees sounds like a good concept, but it is one that often falls through the cracks. The bottom line is that you cannot “assume” your people know they are appreciated. Instead, you need to make time to both formally and informally recognize their efforts. This can be as simple as a mention in your employee newsletter, an “Employee of the Month” program or a pat on the shoulder and a nice e-mail. It can be more formal, including cash rewards, gift certificates or other benefits.
No matter which path you choose – or if you prefer to work with a variety of different ideas – the key is to remember that it is critical to create a culture where employees feel they are adding real value.
From there, you can confidently “go to market” with a message that promotes your firm’s world class client service. You can brand the firm with confidence, knowing you can depend on your people to deliver on your promise.