Customer Service Tips - Practical Tips for Achieving Outstanding Client Service

September 19, 2006

Teach Client Service

Firms can do a great deal to enhance the level of client service provided by their professionals and support staff. Some firms avail themselves of the wide variety of speakers, trainers and seminar leaders who can be engaged to enhance employees' competency in this critical area. It also can be beneficial for CPA's and support staff to attend client-service seminars on an individual basis. In such cases, a firm might underwrite the cost of attendance with the understanding that the employee will assemble a presentation to share what he or she learned with the rest of the firm. Other firms take a different approach and develop their own client-service training program. At the most basic level, firms can provide books, videos and other training materials to help support their employees interest in enhancing their skills in this area.

Recognize and Reward Outstanding Client Service

Firms that wish to provide outstanding client service find success by reinforcing positive behavior in that area. For example, your firm could set up a system for acknowledging actions that demonstrate a commitment to outstanding service. This could be as simple as a form to be filled out by an employee of the firm, detailing the actions of another employee and the results, in terms of client satisfaction. The forms could be read at regular firm meetings or their contents could be distributed internally by memo or email.

To further reinforce positive behavior, firms should reward employees who are recognized through the firm's program. The rewards need not have a high monetary value, but should have strong appeal, such as gift certificates, cash or event tickets. Attaching a reward to the recognition demonstrates the firm's principals are willing to share the benefits of providing outstanding client service with their employees.

Measure Client Satisfaction

One sure way to understand just how your clients feel about your firm is to ask them! Simple surveys offer clients an easy way to provide you with honest feedback in a thoughtful, non-confrontational manner. Such surveys can be distributed via mail or email, depending on the client's preferences.

Typically, firms use two different types of surveys with each client, annual and project surveys. Annual surveys gauge clients overall satisfaction with the firm's service. Project surveys allow a firm to assess its performance on a particular project with a client, without having to wait until the years end to be made aware of and address any issues.

For more information on client satisfaction surveys and to access a sample survey, click here.