When was the last time you put yourself in your client’s shoes and walked the path of your practice’s customer journey? When you’re busy and in the detail, it’s easy to carry on as you always have and do things as you’ve always done them. However, while keeping the status quo may make life easier for you, it could come at a cost – your client.
Customer experience isn’t just about the friendly phone call you may have with your client, it encompasses every aspect of your company’s offering. Of course, this includes the quality of client care, but also marketing, ease of engagement, reliability, how you request and receive information, even how you bill your clients.
What are you doing to deliver a better experience across the board for your clients? What initiatives have you implemented recently that improve collaboration, add value to your service offering, or reduce friction and effort involved with interacting with your business?
The benefits of regularly reviewing and prioritising your client’s experience don’t stop at new revenue opportunities, you’ll likely see team satisfaction increase, as well as improvements to utilisation and productivity that will come from adopting streamlined or automated ways of working.
If it’s been a while since you’ve walked a mile in your client’s shoes, here are 5 steps you can take to create a better, frictionless experience for your clients.
5 steps you can take to create a better, frictionless experience for your clients
- Review your practice’s value proposition
A successful brand influences its customer’s experiences by embedding its value proposition into every element of the business. Are you clear on your firm’s value proposition, and if so, is that reflected in your decision-making processes, your service offerings, and your client interactions?
If your team aren’t clear on your value proposition, spend time together unpacking what it is you want your firm to be known for, and the guiding principles you might adopt to embed that into your organisation.
- Home in on who your clients are
It won’t come as a surprise that you can’t deliver an outstanding client experience if you don’t know what your clients actually value. Spend some time revisiting your client personas – mapping out their likes and dislikes, how they like to engage with your practice, what services they use etc.
For example, husband and wife John and Jane run their own plumbing company. They usually don’t get to work on their business & finances until after hours so they really value being able to text their adviser when they have a question. They value proactive advice and support so like having a fixed price package for accounting and business services that encompasses all elements and leaves no surprises when it comes to invoices.
Get your team involved in creating these personas and give them names – doing so will bring them to life, and act as reminders for future decision making.
- Map out your key business processes from the perspective of your clients and identify all of the touchpoints
Map out your key businesses processes (annual compliance, invoicing & collections, periodic processing, etc.) from start to finish making note of all the different touchpoints for your clients, and the tools/communication methods involved. How do you want your clients to experience the process? Is everyone doing the same thing and using the same tools/technology? What gaps need to be closed, or questions answered, to allow for synergy between your internal processes and your client journey? What friction points exist on the customer journey that could be adding to processing delays, errors, or dissatisfaction? Note them down to prioritise in the next step.
For example, if you want clients to get their information to you within 1 week of starting the job, not providing a detailed list of information needed, or requiring them to send physical documents, could add to processing delays. Try reducing friction for clients by making the step as easy as possible: utilise a client portal for easy document sharing, and experiment with an online form or questionnaire tool to request information needed and elicit responses to queries.
Need some help? Download this template to create your own customer journey
- Identify easy wins
When you’re looking to reduce friction, automating, standardising, and streamlining your processes will deliver quick wins for you and your clients. While you might be thinking that a customer-centric process means more work, the breadth of integrated technology solutions available to support automated processes now means that you no longer need to sacrifice user experience for efficiency gains and vice-versa. Refer back to your process maps and prioritise the improvements you identified based on the impact and the effort involved in implementation.
For example, quick wins that could have a big impact on improving customer experience might involve setting up online information questionnaires, online payment functionality for your invoices, or implementing a client-facing portal for sharing and storing client documents. Meatier projects might entail switching to a more flexible ledger program or implementing fixed fee packages.
- Get feedback
You can’t manage what you can’t measure, so if you’re expending energy on your client experience, make sure you have mechanisms in place to help you track how you’re going. Consider implementing a simple Net Promoter Score survey at the end of your annual compliance process or conduct a more rigorous climate survey every few years. Empower your client managers to own the feedback process by recognising and rewarding positive feedback or process improvements that may come out of responses.
With clients expecting their advisers to be more responsive and proactive, their interactions to be streamlined and automated, and their problems solved quickly, it’s imperative that you prioritise regularly reviewing your client experience.
At Business Fitness we’re focused on making it easier for your team to deliver stand out client experiences by providing solutions that make processing more interactive, engagement more intuitive, and communication more responsive so that you focus your time and energy on what’s most important – growing your practice, developing your team, and supporting your clients. Through our document management software, integrated templates and workpapers, intelligent reporting, and insightful benchmarking tools, our intuitive solutions give firms everything they need to reach their full potential and be truly future fit.