How Herbein Leverages ClearlyRated to Maximize the ROI of their NPS® Program

Herbein + Company is a leading CPA firm headquartered in Reading, PA. They have been working with ClearlyRated for more than 3 years – leveraging the Net Promoter® Score to capture feedback and optimize their client experience. Since implementing NPS®, the Herbein team has made great strides to improve operations and enhance their value proposition to clients. In this blog post, Jack Kolmansberger, Chief Marketing Officer at Herbein and recent inductee to the Association for Accounting Marketing “Hall of Fame,” shares the Herbein team’s NPS story – from DIY to ROI.

The Beginning: Building a survey program from the ground up

Herbein has always held a firm-wide commitment to delivering exceptional client service. But in 2012, Herbein’s CMO Jack Kolmansberger began an initiative to build proof points that would help his brand and business development team communicate that promise more credibly and effectively.

“Every accounting firm touts excellent client service. But there’s a difference between believing it and being able to prove it. We knew that quantifiable client feedback was a significant opportunity to move our client service initiative forward with empirical data. Which is how we came to launch our first survey initiative in 2012.” – Jack Kolmansberger

Herbein’s first manifestation of a client survey program was administered and managed entirely in-house, utilizing an online survey provider to launch their client loyalty survey. While this DIY survey approach was attractive from a budgetary standpoint, it also created a significant drain on resources. By the time the survey had fielded, Jack’s team was overwhelmed with information, and they were running out of runway to meaningfully leverage that data for decision-making.

“When we conducted the survey ourselves, we asked too many questions, and the end result was reams of Excel spreadsheets that supplied little to no actionable information. Despite our best intentions and efforts, it ultimately felt like a survey for the sake of doing a survey.” – Jack Kolmansberger

Optimizing the NPS survey process for valuable insights

After grappling with the realities of the DIY survey approach, Jack decided to seek out alternative implementation options that would help his team achieve their goals for empirical client feedback that would help tell Herbein’s story of service excellence. That’s how he found ClearlyRated.

“One of the best pieces of advice that I would offer for others investing in a client survey initiative is to consider the realities of your team’s time and expertise. We found that by working with a vendor like ClearlyRated – whose team and platform have a validated Net Promoter® survey methodology designed for professional service firms -we are able to take far greater action on the data. Which is really what a survey is all about. Action and improvement. We also sought transparency. During our in-house surveys, we posted results and year-to-year comparisons. The ClearlyRated program posts testimonials in the most transparent means possible.” -Jack Kolmansberger

With the help of the ClearlyRated platform, the Herbein team has utilized their NPS survey program to: validate client fit, prioritize key personnel time, monitor service model effectiveness across offices and teams, fuel conversations about service improvement, and get ahead of client attrition risk.

During their first survey through the ClearlyRated NPS program, the Herbein team identified an at-risk client that had recently transitioned from a smaller firm with the promise of better service and greater resources. In their survey feedback, the client shared that they weren’t getting the value they expected to see when they transitioned to working with Herbein. Thanks to their survey program, the Herbein team was able to immediately act on this feedback, successfully retaining this critical client relationship.

“When you’re able to say that we saved a Top 50 client in the first year as a direct result of this NPS survey process, it quickly became logical to utilize this platform not only for the macro level of how we are doing across the board, but also for the micro level of how we are perceived by specific clients. Now, whenever we need a piece of information on a recent client rating or performance in a specific segment of the business, it’s as easy as logging in to our dashboard and filtering the feedback. We treat our survey dashboard like a living document and a living part of our business.” – Jack Kolmansberger

Client feedback as fuel for growth

Beyond gathering (and taking action on) insights into the client experience, Herbein has leveraged the client feedback gathered through their ClearlyRated NPS survey program to boost engagement internally while credibly demonstrating their commitment to service quality to external stakeholders.

“The way our client feedback is structured in the ClearlyRated dashboard makes it easy to find specific testimonials for our proposals. Whether we’re segmenting by partner, by industry, or by service, I’m confident that our ability to offer the most relevant testimonials helps us stand out to prospects. We even link all of our proposals back to our profile so potential clients can learn firsthand what they can expect from our firm as they review our client ratings and testimonials.” – Jack Kolmansberger

For members of the client service team who are recognized in “Shout Outs” – Jack and his team ensure that the positive feedback is shared with the recognized individual as well as with the entire engagement team.

“Our ability to share positive client feedback internally helps us to culturally reinforce our commitment to client service while providing clear examples of the types of behaviors that create a world-class client experience. It’s one of the many ways that we’re leveraging our NPS survey program for continuous improvement. We want to be the firm that’s looking ahead, not backward.” – Jack Kolmansberger

You don’t have to take our word for it

One of the many benefits of Herbein’s NPS program is their ability to share validated client feedback with prospects. Not only have they earned the Best of Accounting award for client satisfaction for the last 3 years in a row, they also have star ratings and testimonials available on their ClearlyRated profile (shown at left).

“We are constantly evaluating our online presence, and it is incredibly beneficial to have our ClearlyRated profile show up on the first page when you search our firm. We believe that the credibility of seeing ratings and comments in the context of the accounting industry is much better than the random comments that may show up online.” -Jack Kolmansberger


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