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Using customer experience to drive growth - image of person holding a block with message -  a satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all

Focus on customer experience to grow your practice


Customer experience is now the key brand differentiator, so if you're looking to grow your practice quickly you should make sure you focus on six key elements.

23rd Aug 2021
Founder BuBul
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There are effectively three reasons for a client to engage and stay with their accountant. They are:

  • Price (which competitors can undercut)
  • Product or range of services (which competitors can copy); and
  • The customer experience, or CX in modern terminology.

Customer experience is now the key brand differentiator. Research shows that it accounts for 70% of the client’s decision to join or stay and 86% of your clients prioritise the customer experience over price. Those practices that get the CX formula right are outperforming the market average by up to 80%.

There are many definitions of customer experience and it shouldn’t be confused with service – although that is an important element – as  it covers all areas of your practice. At our firm, we view the expierence as everything a client can see, hear, feel and touch about the business.

Our analysis of millions of customer comments, complaints and feedback shows there are six key elements to providing great customer experience.

1. Make it easy

You need a simple memorable, consistent customer journey across all channels. The customer journey begins with awareness, where they encounter you through your website, networking, social media and referrals. The next phase they move through is consideration, where the prospective client gathers the information to allow them to decide if they want to become a client. The next step is engagement – with a clear onboarding process – and then to the ongoing relationship – an area many practices neglect.

2. Set expectations

It must be clear what will happen, when and how it will happen, what the timescales are and what you and the client need to do. This removes ambiguity as well as reducing queries and churn.

3. Keep your promises

During the onboarding process, you will make a number of promises to your clients. It is key that all your processes are aligned to these commitments so that the client never feels you have let them down. Avoid the temptation to over-promise!

4. Communicate

Communication is key during the onboarding process and even more so once the client is on board. Regular relevant communication drives client loyalty and revenue, minimising churn and complaints. Obtaining and using customer feedback should be a regular process within your practice, asking questions such as “What could we do better?”, “How else could we help you?” and “Would you be happy to recommend us?” Making sure communication is relevant to the client brings us to the next point...

5. Treat clients as individuals, not numbers

Intelligent use of data makes a client feel appreciated and understood. It enables the right communication at the right time and shows an understanding of client needs. 

For example, allowing all staff to have a single view of a client (including all communication history) means they can quickly pre-empt or address any queries and gives clients the feeling that all staff know and care about their business. It can also enable you to introduce “wow” moments – those times when a client gets a little more than they would usually expect. For example, a handwritten thank you note is easy to do and can have a dramatic impact on client loyalty.

6. Put it right if it goes wrong

Everybody makes mistakes. Clients will accept that an error has been made if you identify and deal with it quickly, taking responsibility and making sure the client is not penalised in any way.

How to improve your customer experience

A good starting point is to understand your current customer journey. Customer journey mapping is a relatively simple process with many resources online to help but you need to question every touchpoint and the links between them from a client viewpoint!

Start with awareness – how a prospective client becomes aware of you. This should include website, networking and so on, but most importantly referrals. You are six times more likely to acquire a prospective client who is a referral than one who is not.

Then map consideration – how they get the information to decide to do business with you (or not). Think about what information a potential client would need and how they could receive it. Is it written in language the client would understand?

The next stage is onboarding  –  and don’t forget to map what happens if a prospective client decides not to proceed as this will help you drive conversion rates. Again, map the process including all information sent and meetings held.

The final stage is the ongoing relationship. This covers regular contact, all financial and compliance requirements, planned meetings, reviews, feedback requests, complaints and what actions you take when a client leaves.

When you have completed your map you should have a list of ideas for improvement to begin to work through. Then start asking your clients how you can improve and they will help you drive further growth! 

BuBul is a high quality, cost-effective business advice software package for SMEs and their advisers. Find out more on their website.

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