If you lead client listening in accounting firms, my recent article for AAT will be of interest. The pandemic has magnified the importance of listening and responding to client needs and expectations. If your firm can do this quickly it will gain a competitive advantage. To achieve this, firms need to move from collecting disconnected data to using feedback intelligence.
This isn’t as complicated or expensive as it sounds. In fact, you can take great strides using the tools and people you have today.
5 tips for future-proof client listening
1. Always be listening
Traditionally, formal feedback has only been collected at the end of a client project. While this provides a valuable snapshot, actionable intelligence is being missed.
Always be listening, means collecting feedback across the whole client journey. This doesn’t mean sending lots of surveys. It means consistently asking 1 or 2 questions at different touchpoints.
2. Ask open questions
As you already know, the best way to understand your client’s perspective is to ask open questions. The same is true when collecting feedback. When you ask open questions you give people the space to share what’s on their minds.
Future-proof client listening in accounting firms means avoiding assumptions. This comes from asking your clients open questions that reveal their experiences in their own words.
3. Centralise your feedback data
Clients are willing to share more feedback in more places than ever before. As well as surveys and interviews, they’re sharing online reviews, verbal comments, and complaints. Most likely your feedback data is ending up in different places, which makes it hard to analyse.
Future-proof client listening means having a single source of truth for feedback. For accounting firms, this is a central place (database, shared folder etc.) where everyone goes to find client feedback.
4. Include your employees’ view
Accounting is a people business, and your people have a crucial role to play in client experience. As a result, they have a different perspective on client experiences that often gets overlooked.
Future-proof client listening means collecting all client-related feedback. This includes feedback from clients, employees, and your wider networks.
5. Close the loop
Having collected, analysed, and summarised your client-related feedback, it’s time to close the loop. Report back to clients and employees about what you’ve heard and what you’re doing in response.
Client listening in accounting firms requires closing the loop with both clients and employees. This builds trust, drives up future response rates and creates a platform for celebrating success.
When do you enjoy receiving feedback?
Strong client relationships – the business case for listening
Client Listening Programmes in 2021