Client Service is What We Sell

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A few years ago at the annual conference of the Association for Accounting Marketing, I heard Lee Eisenstaedt speak on WalletShare. Just recently I re-read the book he and Tom Siders co-authored and I was so busy underlining and highlighting various paragraphs and key points, I thought I would share them with you. I am pretty sure Lee and Tom will not mind if I quote them to remind all of us how essential it is to create strong, lasting client relationships.

Ours is, after all, a relationship business. We can never forget that. So, delivering great client service and ensuring a meaningful client experience are key to a firm's success.

But how often do we really concentrate on providing a great experience, on being proactive, or asking probing questions of clients to get them thinking about their business and their future? How much easier is it to wait for them to reach out to us than for us to schedule quarterly meetings that are designed for discussion and encourage the open conversation that preempts their concerns?

A client once said to me, "Don't ask me what keeps me up at night. I count on you to tell me what should be keeping me up." In other words, they had expected their most trusted advisor to be their eyes and ears - to observe best practices, industry trends and economic changes, and to keep them aware of the implications of these nuances on their business' future profitability.

Do you do that? Consistently and intentionally? I hope so - because if not, a competitor is going to tell your clients that they deserve a higher level of service than they are currently receiving. When clients leave, no matter what reason they provide, the bottom line is usually that they did not feel they were receiving the right amount of attention, the right amount of advice, the right amount of guidance. In other words, they felt neglected.

Be sure that you don't fall into the trap of being reactive instead of proactive, of undervaluing your client's hunger for new business insights and the importance of frequent interaction. Rarely is a great relationship built on two visits a year!

The book is full of similar hands-on suggestions that can help you improve your firm's success by improving your client's experience!


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Clients expect us to have their financial backs. They place a level of trust in us, and we have a responsibility to ensure that their trust isn't misplaced. I like what you client said. If they think we're doing anything wrong, or if they feel that our relationship isn't satisfactory, they'll be out the door before we can say 'finance'! Great post, Sally. Maintaining an honest and amicable relationship with clients is very very important.