The success of a client satisfaction program relies on an accountant’s ability to do three things.
- Gather qualitative and quantitative assessments of a firm’s service performance from clients on a regular basis.
- Report on the results of these assessments to all interested stakeholders.
- Act on the information received.
All surveys must include right questions. These questions should be brief, to the point and easily understood by clients.
Mail surveys should be no longer than a single page and include multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank or short narrative responses. The mail survey is the least expensive and often the fastest way of obtaining information from clients. The response rate is nearly always higher if a personalised letter accompanies the questionnaire and a postage paid return envelope is enclosed.
Telephone interviews should be restricted to 10 minutes and be structured so that the questions asked will provide the desired information. Firm professionals with a good understanding of the client’s business should conduct these interviews. Greater success can be achieved if your clients are informed of the survey call ahead of time so clients can think about their responses in advance.
Face-to-face interviews, when properly done, allow the interviewer to obtain hard facts as well as client perceptions of services delivered. For these interviews to be effective, careful preparation is crucial. Conducting a client satisfaction interview is different from asking questions on a company’s systems. Most professionals find it difficult to ask the question “How did I do?” When the answer is less than outstanding, it is even more difficult to ask how your services can be improved. Fortunately, most clients are willing to give an honest and straightforward answer when these questions are posed in the right way.