There is a huge gap between client attitudes and CPA perception of those attitudes, according to our research.
We've been asking two questions to two difference groups of people.
We ask clients “how likely are you to recommend your CPA firm?” and
We ask CPAs “how likely are your clients to recommend you?”
About three in four accountants say all or most of their clients woul make good referral sources. Why the accountants aren't using them as referral sources is a whole other story. But, read on, they may, in fact be doing themselves a favor.
Here's the shocker: only one in four clients tell us they are "highly likely" to recommend their current CPA firm. And there are signs that the Great Recession is undermining even that low number.
To us, most CPAs seem far too confident about the recommendation power of their clients. That's is a critical misunderstanding .
Most firms gain a significant portion of their new clients through referrals. Firms depending upon referrals as the basis of a growth strategy or marketing plan might miss their referral goals.
At the same time, roughly eight in ten accountants have no organizaed referral program in place. Such a program would be likely to uncover the reluctance of their current clients to recommend them. If they do not understand that their clients would not refer them, they clearly don't know what they're doing wrong or how to fix it. It's like driving blind, backwards, while singing to the radio.
Clients unwilling to refer their friends, colleagues and associates to their accounting firm are likely to be unhappy in some important way.
If you're betting that most of your clients are happy, you're risking a lot. Can you afford it?