How Client Experience Helps Firms Outperform Peersby
The 7th in a series of 8 articles celebrating the Year of The Client, by helping firms of all sizes to differentiate themselves by providing Client Experience 2.0. We worked with Liscio who has put together this playbook to showcase some of the key things that make all the difference for clients, and for staff, in top-performing firms of all sizes.
The experience you give your clients when working digitally with your firm, is everything. Moreover, firms who leverage the Client Experience 2.0 model outperform their peers by up to 40 percent.
They retain clients and those clients refer the firm to other top clients. Staff are engaged and productive, and the firm is a talent magnet for younger professionals.
If this sounds too good to be true, it's not. It all hinges on making it easy for clients to work digitally with your firm. Why? Because when firms...
- make it easy for clients to send documents securely on the go
- exchange sensitive information with the firm in a frictionless way
- address data silos
The result...everyone gets more work done, staff spend minimal time doing low-value admin work, and profits go up.
The Key Ingredients
- Caring, well-trained staff
- Clear company policies and procedures
- Leading-edge accounting and tax software (QBOA, Lacerte, ProSeries, for example)
- Practice management software to keep complex engagements running smoothly (Karbon or Intuit Practice Management for example)
- Secure firm storage solution optimized for productivity (SmartVault for example)
- A frictionless and drop-dead easy way for clients to securely interact with the firm when:
- Sending sensitive documents
- Answering staff questions
- E-signing documents
- Completing forms like engagement letters and tax questionnaires
- Completing knowledge-based authentications (KBAs)
- Seeing clearly what is needed from them, and when
- Self-serving key documents
This Playbook assumes your firm already has every item in place except an easy way for clients to interact with the firm digitally.
Client Experience 2.0 Principles Make All the Difference
Top firms use technology and user-centered design to get clients to respond quickly and on the first request. They recognize that clients are on the go and need a solution that matches their busy mobile lifestyle. They do not ask clients to use software solutions that were designed for expert firm users.
Using these principles means they reap the rewards - these firms no longer waste valuable time chasing clients for documents, nor do staff have to search across multiple platforms for information they need. Because of this, they spend their days working on high value work instead of low-value admin work like gathering documents. Profits and staff satisfaction go up, and clients are delighted as well.
There are 4 main principles that CX2.0 firms adhere to:
1. CX 2.0 Firms Do Not Use Email to Communicate with Clients
Top firms realize the inherent risk in every email sent to and from clients. They reject email as the way to communicate with their clients because of the security risks, but also because they realize that email is terribly inefficient.
Email is also insecure, disorganized and full of spam and potential future cyberattacks. But more than that, it leads to clients not responding to requests for documents and information.
Clients tend to ignore emails because they are so busy. Instead, CX 2.0 firms use a customized app that meets the firm’s need for security, organization, and speed, and their client’s need for ease of use and convenience on the go.
2. CX 2.0 Firms Are in Their Clients Pockets 100 Percent of the Time
CX 2.0 firms use a dedicated “accountant app” to communicate with, and exchange documents securely, with clients. They are literally “in their clients’ pocket” all day.
The secure app provides the client with an easy way to scan and send documents using just their mobile device (similar to how online banking apps allow the user to securely scan and deposit a check). Clients see all communications from their accountant in a quiet organized secure space.
Push notifications on their phone get their attention and the app makes it easy for them to respond quickly and on the go. Client facing tasks keep them on track.
Clients respond 19-times faster than if the firm sent an email and with a median response time of just 6 minutes if the secure text messaging feature is used.
3. CX 2.0 Firms Ensure that Staff Are Kept “In the Loop” - Always
CX 2.0 firms recognize that in order to move quickly and ensure top-notch service, teams need to collaborate. They choose systems designed to keep all staff in the loop about the clients they work on together, and ensure that data silos do not slow the team down.
They use a system that aggregates all client-facing communications, documents, messages, and staff responses in one easy to manage place, and that features full visibility for staff. Additionally, supervisors should be able to create custom views of all the clients they manage, to ensure that each staff person is responding in a timely manner to client communications.
4. CX 2.0 Firms Keep the Front Office and Bank Office Separate
Just as a busy restaurant would never want the diners in the kitchen, CX 2.0 firms don’t require clients to use the same systems they use to get the work done. Think portal - staff love their portal but clients often struggle to use it or they opt out entirely.
Instead, CX 2.0 firms give their clients a drop-dead easy way to send documents to the firm securely and on the go. Staff can put the documents into the back-end firm portal if that is required for efficiency, but the client doesn’t have to suffer using a system that was not designed for them in the first place.
Consequently, staff doesn’t have to provide tech support for the solution, or, try and find documents that were sent in via numerous other methods. Client Experience 2.0 means that every touchpoint with your firm is easy and seamless for clients on the go.
Firms who have moved to this model are reaping the benefits in terms of happier clients, faster client response times, and much less stress for staff. They use a client-facing mobile solution that is as secure and easy to use on the go as an online banking app. Staff also get more work done and can spend time on higher-value advisory services instead of chasing clients for documents or searching across multiple platforms for documents they sent.
To take a deeper look at your firm’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of Client Experience, take this short quiz.
|At Liscio, we’re dedicated to the craft of client experience. We believe the right client experience speeds the exchange of data between firm and client, minimizes wasted motion, and creates raving fans. Liscio's platform achieves these goals by putting all of the tools client's need to respond quickly right at their fingertips -- including an all-in-one mobile app, automatic reminders, and even a mobile document scanner. With all client communications and documents centralized in Liscio, it’s easy for staff to quickly see what is going on with each client’s account. And since Liscio is so easy for clients to use, they send documents quickly when asked. No more data silos, no more chasing clients for documents, and no more searching across multiple platforms.To see how Liscio can help you provide a world-class experience for your clients and staff, book a personalized demo.
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Chris Farrell, CPA is the CEO of Liscio. He is a seasoned technology executive with more than 20 years of leadership experience in finance and accounting. Chris served as the CEO of Nexonia, Inc., the parent company of the Nexonia, Tallie, ExpenseWatch, and SpringAhead brands.