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In today’s episode of ‘From the eLearning Trenches,’ we asked one of our learners to review their firm’s approach to formal client feedback and discuss options to improve the client feedback process.

We don’t have a formal feedback program, we find most feedback (negative) comes by either email or a client leaving our firm.

Our usual response is to phone the client to discuss as soon as possible and ask them if there was anything we could have done better and discuss the issue.

In the case of them leaving our firm, an amicable relationship is usually presented by offering to answer any further queries they have in future, letting them know we are here. We have had multiple clients return from leaving due to this.

I have presented to the directors the software platform ‘Gather-up’ to implement a net promoter score. Talks ongoing, and to see what else is available on this.

 Next step is to implement Gather-up or something similar to

  • identify client advocates
  • generate more referrals
  • generate more reviews

Feedback from our experts

A recent report on marketing for professional firms (Nisus Consulting) observed that ‘more listening, closer relationships and off the clock investment are better marketing (than promotion) and provide the real differentiation so many clients want to see. Clients (and potential clients) want firms to understand and meet their needs more effectively’.

The best way to find out what your clients think is to ask them. Client feedback forms and surveys have become increasingly popular with professional firms. Properly designed, they can assist the firm in evaluating a client’s level of satisfaction and prevent potential erosion or loss of business to competition. A well-designed survey can also identify additional services that clients may require and can pinpoint potential markets that are currently not being serviced by the firm.

Unfortunately, most accountants, like other service providers, have an aversion to direct feedback. However, the act of asking for feedback invariably creates an enhanced image of the firm in the mind of the client and is rarely a negative experience for firms when undertaken. In fact, a study published in the Harvard Business Review confirmed that merely conducting client satisfaction surveys significantly enhanced client loyalty and profitability.

Where should you start? Certainly, you will get some feedback through face-to-face meetings and phone conversation, often when there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Whilst useful, this type of feedback is often biased and reflects a specific situation rather than an overall impression of the quality of service. Too often, firms will not find out that a client has a real issue until they have left to become the client of another firm.

If your firm is serious about improving the quality of services you provide to your clients, it should ask clients questions about

  • The overall level of service
  • Satisfaction with particular services
  • Knowledge of available services
  • Your professionalism, proactivity and responsiveness
  • Transparency with costing and perception of value for fees charged
  • Your understanding of their business and personal financial affairs
  • Your ability to meet internal and external deadlines

Net Promotor Score is a good way to start. Use this to identify clients who are satisfied with the level or service or feel that it could be improved. Then ask questions about what needs to change to engage with clients in a more proactive way.

This assessment task and response is taken from the Path to Partnership eLearning Course. Click here to explore this course

Also, you might want to take a look at the Client Concierge eLearning Course

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