The following six ‘client fundamentals’ are highlighted in Robert Craven’s book: Grow your service firm. I’ve added my interpretation of each of them in square brackets.
1 – Don’t waste my time [Don’t keep me waiting at the start of scheduled meetings. Also when explaining issues, in writing or face to face. Doctors manage well in this regard despite dealing with life and death issues and the risk of being sued for malpractice]
2 – Understand who I am – the client who pays your fees and thus your wages [Don’t take clients for granted, respond promptly when they communicate, keep them informed of progress (and delays) and treat them with due respect]
3 – Make it easy for me to buy and to get service [Among my pet peeves are accountants’ websites with no contact name on them. People buy from people. Who should they ask for when they approach your firm – by phone or email? Ensure you have a straightforward client ‘take-on’ process with no delays. This includes clarity over your fees and terms of business. Can you produce these easily and address all new client issues promptly?]
4 – Make sure your service delights me or at least “does what it says on the tin” [Are you ‘Accountants and business advisers’? If so you should be advising on business issues as a matter of course and without being asked. Unless you are super-human you cannot expect to be able to advise on every single matter that a client may raise. But you should know where you will go if a client asks for (or you perceive they need) advice on tax or other issues that are a little out of the ordinary.
5 – Customise your product service to my specific needs [Tailor your standard letters to suit specific clients. Use appropriate terminology and adapt your style and language as required]
6 – Don’t treat me like a moron [Clients are not trained to understand accounts and tax returns. They may well have built up a fair understanding of the numbers around their business or their tax affairs. Never assume to the contrary.]
The book is aimed at a wide variety of service providers – including accountants. Do you agree that these 6 client fundamentals should be taken on board by ambitious accountants? Are there others you would add to the list?
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