The Keys to Exceptional Client Service By Mark Holton from Smithink on Mar 9, 2019
I was recently asked what were the key observations you have seen in successful accounting firms around the world when it comes to client service. I have summarised below my top 10 steps to better client service from observations in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Canada;
- You are in business to service client needs and you can only do that if you know what it is your clients want. When you truly listen to your clients, they let you know what they want and how you can provide good service.
- Unlock and anticipate needs. Clients don’t buy products or services. They buy solutions to problems. Find out what is important to them and look to deliver the services they need.
- Be a good listener. Take the time to listen to what the client is really saying. Listen to their words, tone of voice, body language, and most importantly how they feel.
- Make clients feel important and appreciated. Treat them as individuals. Always use their name and find ways to sincerely compliment them.
- Help clients understand your systems. Take time to explain how your systems work and how they can integrate their systems to simplify transactions. Educational at client level is critical to service delivery.
- Appreciate the power of saying “Yes” to clients. When they have a request (as long as it is reasonable and you can achieve it) tell them that you can do it and give them a realistic expectation of completion time and the cost involved.
- Know how to apologise when something goes wrong. The client may not always be right, but they need to think they have won. Deal with problems immediately and let clients know exactly what you have done.
- Give more than expected. Develop your unique selling proposition (USP) and think of ways to elevate you firm above the competition. Consider a diversified service model in the firm that provides the clients with business advisory services and advice they really want.
- Get regular feedback. Encourage and welcome suggestions about how your firm could improve. Look to client surveys as a good way to attract this feedback and act on it.
- Treat employees well. Employees are your internal clients and need a regular dose of appreciation. Appreciation always should stem from the top. This is the role of the Partners!
Save the Date: The Smithink Young Guns Workshop is running on July 29 and 30 at QT Hotel Gold Coast. Come along and work on your client service skills as well as many other interactive skill sessions. Details available in April.