Could I be so bold as to ask you a question? When you visit a service provider (e.g. your accountant, lawyer, dentist, doctor – whoever) are you thinking to yourself “gosh I hope she makes sure she benefits from our relationship?” Or are you thinking to yourself “gosh I hope I get some value from our relationship?”
My guess is we all know the answer which is why most customer service advisers say that if you treat your customers in the same way as you would like to be treated if you were dealing with you and your firm then you’ll build a very nice business.
I suspect that if you agree with my above statement then you will also agree that it calls for business strategy that is customer centric rather than organization centric. With that in mind here are 7 pieces of feedback we have garnered from hundreds of Client Advisory Boards we have facilitated over the years:
- Deliver my work on time and on budget – do what you say you will do, no surprises please so let’s talk about fee expectations up front, let me know if I’m responsible for scope creep but don’t charge me for your errors or inefficiencies.
- Proactively anticipate my needs and share ideas with me that may improve my business or my life i.e. show me that you actually care about me, my family, my well-being and my business
- Respond to my requests for help in a timely manner – it would help greatly if you would assign someone to me who is readily accessible and reliable.
- Bring a high level of skill to the work that you do for me and if you need to, feel free to curate outside expertise.
- Give me access to your client portal so I can exchange documents with you securely and have access to my financial statements and other important documents on a 24/7 self-service so I do not need to interrupt your team and incur an unnecessary service cost.
- Treat me with respect by being courteous and honest with me at all times. If I am not working with you in a way that is to our mutual benefit please tell me so that we can improve our relationship.
- Charge me a fair price based on the value of the work you do for me and the services you provide. Explain to me how you determine your prices and make the invisible visible so that I understand.
You will be able to design a seriously powerful business model for each of your customer segments once you clearly understand what jobs they need done and how they need them done, their aspirations and/or the scope to create value by eliminating or mitigating their challenges or creating value in some other way.
Customer centricity is the key to building a customer value proposition that is the basis for differentiating your firm from those that simply see themselves as vendors of accounting services. This is a central theme in the methodology we share in the Practice Innovation Workshop.