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Triangle of Success

Shape Your Firm’s Client Experience the Right Way


Dawn Brolin, CPA, CFE, and her practice Powerful Accounting, has long been an advocate for accounting professionals. She's regularly shared the trials and tribulations she has experienced in her own practice with fellow practitioners, in the hopes that they too can learn to grow the right way while avoiding pitfalls she has faced. In this article, as part of our final Client Experience 2.0 article series, Dawn shares how to use the Triangle of Success model to create an all-star client experience.

Sep 27th 2021
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Accountants need to take a moment to think of your three top clients, your favorites, the ones who you look forward to working with, who are satisfied and excited for you to serve them. They also pay you what you are worth. These are the clients we all want to have because they form what I call The Triangle of Success (ToS) for my practice.

For my practice, there are three key characteristics of a client who fits into my ToS:

1. I love what I do for them.

2. I love who they are.

3. I love the billable time I get from them.

When you clearly define these characteristics for your own practice, you can then start being more intentional about answering the question: “Who are the clients who fit into my ToS?”

Using the ToS Model to Create an All-Star Client Experience

When I first started my company, I pretty much took on any client who came to me.  It really didn’t matter what the services were that they required, I just needed to provide for my family.

As time went on, I realized that I wasn’t good at some things and that I didn’t enjoy working with various clients. Yet, I still put money first. That was probably the biggest mistake that I have made and even after realizing it, I repeated the pattern.

However, over the last two years, I have been sticking to the Triangle of Success and turning away clients who don’t seem to fit my core values or who want me to deliver services that I don’t have any interest in providing.

Now that I am at this point in my practice evolution, I take pride in saying “No” to new clients. I believe that it is when you realize it is okay to say, “No,” your whole world will change. 

Here’s an example from my own firm:

Recently, I had a tax referral for a company that was currently not a US based company but they were setting up a business in the US. They required international tax preparation services on top of other services I choose not to provide. 

They had a good budget figure for my services but at the end of the day, I don’t want to learn international tax. I politely declined the referral and when I look back, I am so thankful that I have adopted this mindset. I cannot imagine having to dive into international tax, watch a billion webinars to learn more, and take the focus away from what I do best.

And there it is folks. When you decline one opportunity, it actually ends up reviving others.  It allows you to focus on what you do best.  The anxiety of knowing you won’t be able to take care of other clients' needs because you are taking the time away from profitable work and focusing on a new client that is not in your wheelhouse evaporates when you have the courage and “smarts” to say “NO.”

Of course, when you have the clients you want, it is absolutely imperative your client experience (CX) is such that you can retain them. In my firm, I call it “The Team Brolin All-Star Client Experience.”

When you first hear the term “Client Experience” (CX) you may be thinking it’s all about delivering something amazing to your client...and that is (mostly) true. However, to me, having an amazing client experience in your firm starts with what kind of clients you have. Ask yourselves:  Are they forming a Triangle of Success in your firm?  How can you keep them, your team, and yourself happy with the experience you deliver to them? These are the questions I continually ask as I keep refining the experience with new and better processes, tools, and partners to support it.

For example, I always seek to meet my clients where they are. It can be daunting for the client when I start to toss out all of my ideas, making changes to their systems, and recommending additional technology for their business. 

Keeping it simple and conquering one challenge at a time makes everything much more manageable and valuable to the client.  In addition, I have found the manner in which you communicate with your client is critical. 

Cultivate Effective Client Communication for a Winning CX and Your Sanity

Think about this, how many of you give out your personal cell phone to your clients?  How many of you regret it?  I actually added a personal phone line to my plan that I literally only give out to friends and family.  I tell them this “If you text me or call me on this personal phone about something to do with business, I will block your number.” 

I do this because when I leave my office, I want to have time outside of work. I don’t want to be answering texts while I am on the softball field or at home watching a show with my daughter(s).  I want ME time.  I want to play Candy crush in peace.  You know what I am saying!

Over the last couple of months, I discovered an app that eliminates my need to give out my cell phone to my clients at all, but that still retains that extremely personal touch.  I found a better way to communicate and meet my clients where they are without having it disrupt my personal time.

The app I chose is Liscio. Because Liscio is a secure, quiet, organized space for clients to communicate with me (and vice versa) I can now CHOOSE when I answer a client's communication. 

The app lets me know what has been answered and what is still outstanding.  Client-facing tasks keep them on track.  And they can use the integrated mobile scanner to send me the documents we need quickly (kind of like depositing a check securely using a banking app!) 

Perhaps most importantly, anyone on my team can see all of the communications from every client so that it isn’t 100 percent on me to answer every single request from a client. Because we love it and our clients love it, Liscio fills the client experience position in my Starting Lineup of technology I use to run my practice.

At Liscio, we’re dedicated to the craft of client experience. We believe the right client experience speeds the exchange of data between firm and client, minimizes wasted motion, and creates raving fans. Liscio's platform achieves these goals by putting all of the tools client's need to respond quickly right at their fingertips -- including an all-in-one mobile app, automatic reminders, and even a mobile document scanner.  With all client communications and documents centralized in Liscio, it’s easy for staff to quickly see what is going on with each client’s account. And since Liscio is so easy for clients to use, they send documents quickly when asked. No more data silos, no more chasing clients for documents, and no more searching  across multiple platforms.To see how Liscio can help you provide a world-class experience for your clients and staff, book a personalized demo.