Customer Service Tips - Cultivating a Service Orientation

September 19, 2006

Regardless of whether your firm is large, small or somewhere in between, your job and that of every other employee of your firm is to serve, satisfy and delight your clients. Think more broadly about the definition of your own role at your firm and encourage everyone else to do the same. Do this and you will likely come to view your job as solving problems and delighting clients. Providing accounting services is merely how you pursue fulfillment of your purpose.

Remember the example of the railroad barons, they thought of themselves as being in the railroad business, rather than the transportation business, and as a result were blindsided by the rise of trucking. Focus on the results of your work, not the functional tasks.

All employees should understand that serving client's needs and surpassing their expectations is the top priority. An upbeat, friendly and helpful receptionist can do wonders for a client's mood and perception of your firm; one who is the opposite can create problems where none previously existed. To make employees understand the importance your firm places on satisfying clients, consider the following:

  • Push authority down to all levels of the firm, to everyone who has contact with a client.
  • Empower employees to do what it takes to solve a client's problem or meet a clients need.

To cultivate a service orientation, you and your staff should empathize with clients. Understanding what clients need and want is the first step to being able to provide it. To do this:

  • Put yourself in your clients' shoes.
  • Think about what you expect from service providers.
  • Ask your clients' what they expect.
  • Become intimately familiar with their business and personal situation.
  • Be creative in developing ways to meet and exceed your clients' expectations.