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Enhancing the Client Experience: A Strategic Approach



Enhancing the client experience (CX) has become a cornerstone for success in many accounting firms. As the profession navigates through an increasingly competitive marketplace, the focus has shifted from merely providing compliance and advisory services to creating a holistic and satisfying journey for clients.  


In many firms, the desire to improve the client experience is there, but they aren’t sure where to start. So let’s define the client experience and consider a strategic approach to improving it, elevating your service delivery and building enduring client relationships.

 

What is client experience? 

Client experience (CX) refers to the sum of all interactions a client has with an accounting firm, from the initial contact to the conclusion of their business relationship. It encompasses every touchpoint, including communication, service delivery and problem resolution. 


A positive client experience is essential as it leads to client retention, encourages client referrals and helps build a strong reputation for your firm. 


A strategic approach to improving the client experience 

Many firms take a piecemeal approach to enhancing the client experience. While this can create some quick wins, taking a strategic approach ensures your efforts aren’t just effective but also sustainable in the long term. 

 

Step 1: Identify your target client 

The first step in enhancing CX is identifying your target client or clients. Too often, firms take any clients with a pulse and a checkbook, but developing a CX process that caters to every type of client is impractical.  


By focusing on a specific client segment, you can tailor your services and interactions to meet the unique needs and expectations of that group. 

 

Step 2: Build a cross-functional team 

Improving CX isn’t just the responsibility of the marketing or client service team; it requires a cross-functional approach.  


Form a CX team with representatives from various departments to ensure that every aspect of the client's journey is considered and optimized. 

 

Step 3: Address every touchpoint 

A comprehensive approach to CX addresses every touchpoint in the client's journey. This includes initial business development, signing the engagement letter, onboarding the client, delivering the service, billing and even the conclusion of the business relationship.  


Each stage offers an opportunity to enhance the client's experience and deepen the relationship. 

 

Step 4: Apply the DMAIC framework 

We use the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) framework to improve processes in firms, but it’s also an effective tool for improving CX. 

 

  • Define. What problem do you want to fix? Create a vision, define the objectives, identify the scope and create timelines for completion. 

  • Measure. Assess the current client experiences to establish a baseline. This process isn’t about what “should be” happening but what is actually happening today—and all the variations between offices, departments and individuals. 

  • Analyze. Break the client experience down. What does the data tell you? Identify areas of strength and weakness in your current CX process. Pinpointing problems and quality issues ultimately helps you identify areas of opportunity. 

  • Improve. Develop and implement strategies to enhance the client experience. This involves rethinking and possibly redesigning how services are delivered, how communication is handled, and how feedback is collected and acted upon. 

  • Control. How will you sustain improvements? Take time to train, roll out and implement the new client experience processes. Establish mechanisms to maintain and continuously improve CX. Your CX committee can now monitor the CX, implement improvements, and ensure that the firm does not revert to outdated practices. 

 

Improving client experience isn’t just about adopting new strategies; it's about cultivating a client-centric culture. By identifying the target client, involving a cross-functional team, addressing every touchpoint, and applying the DMAIC framework, you can significantly enhance your client experience and ensure these improvements are not just temporary fixes but an integral part of the firm's ongoing success. 

 

 

Do you want to fast-track your firm’s success in the areas of marketing and business development? 


The Boomer Marketing & Business Development Circle is a peer group of top marketing and business development leaders in the accounting profession who are committed to aligning marketing and business development initiatives with firm strategy. Apply now to get plugged into the Circle and start growing your firm. 



 

As the Solutions Manager for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Deanna works to help clients and prospective clients identify their dangers, opportunities and strengths. Once these are identified, she works to develop a personalized game plan for their firm to focus on the area, or areas, they need to improve on most. These areas are critical to a firm’s success and future-readiness; Leadership, Talent, Technology, Process and Growth.

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