How to make your profits take off through caring client contact…
Wouldn’t it be great if you were able to generate greater sales and profits with the help of your clients?
Even better if you increase profits without spending another penny on sales and marketing!
You intuitively know how dangerous it is to take your clients for granted.
And yet how many firms do you witness delivering average, or even miserable client experiences?
Here’s a business breakthrough to help you focus on delivering a magical experience for your clients.
When you do, you improve profits because these same clients buy again, buy more, and buy more often. They also tend to recommend you to their friends and colleagues.
Your client care contact programme determines your client experience. Your client experience determines the success of your firm.
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When Jan Carlzon took over Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) the business was making multi-million losses and in worrying decline.
In just 12 months he turned the business around. In one year earnings were up £60 million in a drastically slumping market where other international airlines collectively lost £1.5 billion.
One of the key elements of Carlzon’s turn around was his unerring focus and commitment to customer care. Carlzon did a brilliant job of sharing his very simple view of what makes SAS successful.
A simple, powerful view of business…
10 million customers a year typically come into contact with 5 SAS employees. And each contact lasts an average of 15 seconds. Here’s Carlzon’s view:
“SAS is ‘created’ 50 million times a year, 15 seconds at a time.”
“These 50 million ‘moments of truth’ are the moments that ultimately determine whether SAS will succeed or fail as acompany. They are the moments when we must prove to our customers that SAS is their best alternative.”
Here's A proven solution for you...
Focus your energy, your people and your systems on delivering memorable experiences for your clients.
Create magical moments to help create loyal clients who end up buying more, buy more often, and recommend others to buy too.
Time for a question
What happens to the results of your firm when your clients think you do a magical job of looking after them?
Perhaps a better question is, what happens to your firm when your clients think you do a miserable job of looking after them?
Clearly, client care deserves your and your team’s best attentions. We suggest you start here…
STOP thinking your existing client care contact programme is good enough.
It suggests you’re taking your clients for granted which is never a good thing.
START improving your clients’ moments of truth and you’ll be building a more successful accountancy firm.
Click here to get to the checklist for creating magical moments of truth for your clients...
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Identify your client moments of truth
SAS worked out they had 5 x 15 second moments of truth with every one of their customers.
How many moments of truth do you have? How much time do these moments take up?
Just 75 seconds per customer determines SAS’s reputation, whether a customer comes back, and whether they recommend others to use SAS.
How long have you and your team got to impress or depress a client?
Because Carlzon and his 10,000 employees changed these 5 x 15 second interactions they turned multi-million losses into multi-million profits in just 12 months. Not bad.
How much of an impact do you think this client-focused approach could have on the bottom line of your firm?
If you want help working this out, before you start, give us a call and we’ll work it out with you.
It is suggested that upwards of 70% of change programmes in business fail.
This is substantially because the front line people do not wholeheartedly buy into the change and therefore don’t make it happen.
You can’t do it alone
The 5 x 15 second customer conversations at SAS were with front-line people. Not managers or directors.
As at SAS, your front-line people similarly have the knowledge, insights and experience to help you improve your moments of truth.
So get them involved from the start.
Ignore your front-line people at your peril.
Share the reason why
When it’s crystal clear to your people why you want to improve your moments of truth they might just support you.
If they don’t know why it’s necessary, chances are you will not get their buy-in.
Even though this is stating the blindingly obvious it’s often ignored.
Here’s an example ‘why’:
“Clients either decide to buy, or decide not to buy. They decide to come back and buy again, or not buy again.
They decide to recommend our firm, or bad-mouth our firm.”
“The way we handle our client moments of truth determines the success of the firm, the survival of the firm and everyone’s job, salary and mortgage payments.”
Seems like a powerful reason to improve your moments of truth don’t you think?
Client care pays off…
Does client care really come with a financial pay off for your firm? Let’s answer this question with a few more questions. If one of your clients has a magical experience...
The answer is ‘more likely’. Improving your client care comes with a substantial commercial payoff.
A magical moment…
One of our colleagues is a big fan of Pret a Manger, the city-centre café chain. On a recent visit he was given an unsolicited free green tea. He wasn’t expecting it.
It was a magical moment.
He goes back and buys more from them and he tells everyone about it!
Pret a Manger invest in a paper cup, a teabag and some hot water and get a raving fan who spends more and tells everyone!
Magical moments need not be costly and this one certainly paid off for Pret a Manger!
Higher grade client care also comes with hidden cost savings too.
For example: fewer complaints means less expense; fewer returns means less expense; fewer issues frees up team time and improves team morale.
Your guide for creating those magical client moments...
4 helping hands for you…
Taking clients for granted is a recipe for commercial disaster. Put these 4 things to work for you and you improve your client experiences and then profits too:
Get your team involved
Identify each and every moment of truth you have with your clients
Decide whether you deliver miserable, neutral or magical moments
Decide what to do to make neutral moments magical, and miserable moments either neutral or magical
TIME TO DISAGREE
“This isn’t relevant to us. We’re not an airline with thousands of people meeting thousands of customers. We’re a small manufacturing business and sell most of our products from our website.”
At SAS the moments of truth are face to-face, 1-on-1 conversations between customers and SAS people.
Your moments of truth might be on your web page, filling in order forms, or over the phone.
What’s certain is you can improve your firm’s moments of truth whatever they look like.
One business we know of adds an ink stamp cartoon to all their monthly invoices. The cartoon is different every month. They are managing the moment of truth when a customer reviews their invoice.
It’s not uncommon for the financial controller to share the cartoon with others in the office. And so the cartoon creates a favourable feeling towards the supplier - who knows, they may even get paid sooner too.
How can you apply this to your moments of truth and make them more magical?
“We don’t have the money to invest in improved client care.”
It really pays to consider the time, money and lost profits associated with taking your clients for granted.
Plus, improving your client contact moments is rarely expensive. This means you can get a large performance improvement from a very modest investment (just like Pret a Manger do).
“We’re already better than our competitors at client care so why bother with this.”
Client care is a moving target. Also your client care is not being compared with your competitors alone.
You’re compared with your client’s last accountant, or a friend's accountant, or the new accountant who has just set up a firm near you.
Whether you deliver a magical, neutral or miserable moment of truth depends on two things:
Be very careful and cautious of underestimating your clients’ expectations.
Avoid being complacent and review your moments of truth regularly with your team.
“How do I know this will work for me and my firm?”
Until you test it, and modify it to suit your firm, you won’t know. What’s clear is you feel better towards businesses that deliver you magical moments.
Shouldn’t your firm do the same for your clients?
Your 'Make It Happen' checklist:
Here's how you create more magical moments of truth for your clients...
Post-it note moments of truth:
Together with your people, identify each and every moment of truth (point of contact) a client has with your firm.
Write it on a post-it note.
Then create a post-it note timeline showing, step-by-step, each and every point of contact - on your office wall or flip chart. You can see a picture of this in the online support tools.
Colour-code your different types of contact:
Now it's time to colour-code your post-it notes.
Using different coloured pens identify the different types of contact you have with your client: face-to-face; by video link (zoom); by phone; by email; by post; by website page; by webinar.
Choose your priorities:
Identify the 3, 4 or 5 most important moments of truth from your post-it notes analysis.
Limit your focus so you can make progress fast.
Miserable, Neutral, Magical assessment:
With your team, assess your top 3, 4 or 5 moments of truth - are they miserable, neutral or magical, from your clients' point of view?
Possibility thinking and action planning:
Be open-minded and identify ‘POSSIBLE’ ways of improving each of your priority moments of truth.
And with your team decide what to do to make any neutral moments magical ones. And any miserable moments either neutral or magical.
And then make it happen.
Want to know more?
Moments of Truth
You’ll find real value and insight by looking deeper into the way Jan Carlzon helped transform the performance of Scandinavian Airlines.
It might be considered ancient history to look into a business transformation from the late 1980’s, however Carlzon’s book ‘Moments of Truth’ is considered a business classic.
It’s as much a leadership book as it is a client care book and well worth reading.
YOUR SUPPORT TOOLS ARE HERE:
Click the button link below and you'll find a selection of practical support tools to help you get a deeper understanding and develop greater skills for client care success.
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