How often do you think your clients talk about your business? Do you think it’s positive or negative? Are they even speaking about the services you provide them at all? Although these are good questions to think about, the answers aren’t always straightforward. While clients may not be talking about you to other business owners, they are always evaluating your business and business processes. Clients evaluate you every time you provide a financial statement, tax return, answer the phone, send an invoice or email or any other service for that matter. Their evaluation plays a major role in the success of your product portfolio. So, the best way to determine if your clients’ evaluations are positive or negative is to implement a system to leverage their feedback.
Client feedback is an important factor for any system you implement, product you sell or service you offer. Implementing a powerful feedback system allows you to gain client or outside viewpoints and determine where your business is lacking and succeeding. Often times, the non-technical aspects of what you do are noticed most. Clients usually leave a firm not because the firm was lacking technology but because of the way they were treated. Perceived indifference, or the little things that communicate to the client that they aren’t as important to the firm as they should be, are the issues that cause clients to leave your firm. To limit the occurrence of this, ask yourself: what are your firm’s areas of perceived indifference? Is it your calling procedures? Billing procedures? Are you not meeting deadlines? etc. Hold yourself accountable to find out what these issues are and fix them immediately because every day you don’t make changes, you raise the risk of losing clients who feel uncared for or unnoticed.
The best way to diagnose your issues is to ask your clients for feedback and most importantly, listen to what they have to say. Your clients more than likely have the answers and are more than willing to share them. Besides, you want your client discussing their concerns with you first, not with other prospects or businesses. Great ways to receive client feedback include creating feedback surveys or running a Client Advisory Board (CAB). The intensity level of feedback you receive from the CAB or surveys will help you address which issues take precedence over others. Once you determine the priority of the issues, then you can move forward in implementing ideas, products or services to ease and improve the concerns.
Client feedback will motivate your firm to hold each team member accountable to a new level of client expectation. This feedback will improve the services you offer as well as help you find additional opportunities for your existing clients. After holding a CAB, ask participating clients if they would be willing to participate again in six months. This will allow you to measure your progress and gain their feedback on the processes or services your firm implemented.
Through leveraging feedback and listening to your clients, not only can you improve your offerings, but you can also increase your client retention rate. You will have more fulfilling, longer lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with your clients. With a feedback system, you also set your firm up to attract similar clients or more clients that you want.
About the Author
Colin DunnDirector & Co-founder at PANALITIX
Colin is a Chartered Accountant who, having spent almost 10 years with one of the fastest growing and most innovative firms in the UK, has since invested over 20 years helping business owners to improve their businesses with a focus on attracting new clients, better managing existing clients, developing new products, building an engaged team and strengthening internal business processes.
Colin's primary focus at PANALITIX is on product development and business improvement content. He is the author of the bestselling book “Accountants: The Natural Trusted Advisors".