How Perkins & Co Learned to Capture and Respond to Client Service Insights, Earning Best of Accounting for 10 Years Published by ClearlyRated - February 7, 2023 The First-Ever ClearlyRated Best of Accounting 10-Year Diamond Winner for Client Satisfaction Making strategic business decisions without real client service insights can feel like throwing darts in the dark. That’s how leaders used to feel at Perkins & Co, now one of Oregon’s most admired accounting firms and ClearlyRated’s first 10-year Best of Accounting Client Satisfaction Diamond winner. Challenge As an accounting firm, leaders at Perkins & Co understand the value of good data. But until 2011, they didn’t capture any numbers related to their service performance. The client satisfaction information they did have was sporadic at best, coming only via individual conversations with clients. This also meant the firm was at risk of being biased since they typically talked to clients with whom they already had strong relationships. Not only that—they also lacked accounting industry service benchmarks and, therefore, couldn’t be sure how their own service measured up to their peers. “Before beginning our Net Promoter Score® (NPS) program with ClearlyRated in 2011, we merely guessed at our client experience (CX) which forced us to base strategic business and marketing decisions on assumptions. This was not a good business strategy. ” – Nicola Fleming, Director of Marketing at Perkins & Co It became clear that they needed a true understanding of their service leaders’ relationships with their clients—and the ability to verify rather than assume. Only then could they proactively build a smooth CX and remove the risk of making false assumptions that resulted in lost business. Solution ClearlyRated helped Perkins & Co execute an NPS survey program delivered via ClearlyRated’s ready-made platform. This strategy provided reliable, timely, trackable data within a short implementation period. Prior to running their first NPS survey, ClearlyRated educated employees at Perkins & Co about the survey process and benefits. Upon delivering the survey results, ClearlyRated’s customer success manager guided Perkins & Co in how to use this critical feedback to improve business decisions and adjust internal client service processes. This strengthened client relationships and helped to avoid the unpleasant surprise of losing a client without warning. Outcomes Thanks to their ability to gather quantifiable data and anecdotal feedback, Perkins & Co has accomplished the following: Improvement of internal processes tied to their CX thanks to client comments Baking client service into their firm’s culture via training, clear expectations and related rewards Driving business growth by gathering authentic reviews and client satisfaction numbers that bolster marketing efforts Top 5 Internal & External Program Wins for Perkins Establishing a process for gathering client feedback that improves client retention Leaders say the data they have gathered over the years has repeatedly influenced their client service approach, while helping them understand what it means to be an excellent service provider. They now have the tools to resolve and repair relationships with unhappy clients as well as retain and grow satisfied accounts. Creating and implementing firm-wide communication standards One of the most tangible products that has resulted from Perkins & Co’s survey program is the firm’s communication standards. All employees receive this training on Day 1, both related to firm-wide standards and to expectations for their position and level within the firm. This training has helped set the expectation to build strong, authentic client relationships by being proactive and leading with the positive. Forming an inspired company purpose With help from multiple years of client surveying and feedback, leaders at Perkins & Co identified their company values and distilled their company purpose: “To ignite possibilities that help our clients and employees thrive.” Celebrating service wins The ClearlyRated platform’s “shout-outs” feature allows Perkins & Co to celebrate top performers and entire teams for delivering great service. This helps them reward and acknowledge employees for exceptional performance grounded in client service excellence. Obtaining positive client testimonials Perkins & Co easily gathers new client testimonials as part of their NPS survey process. They now have a healthy database of positive client experiences they can use in marketing and proposal efforts without manually requesting testimonials from clients. “The awards we earn from ClearlyRated are a differentiator for us, and the NPS is a respected and objective measure of a company’s service, as measured by clients. We feature our awards and NPS on our website, talk about it on our social media, and include it in our proposals and marketing materials. The Best of Accounting award gives us credibility, and we take huge pride in it.” – Nicola Fleming, Director of Marketing at Perkins & Co Advice for Firms starting their NPS program Perkins & Co is the first-ever accounting firm to earn ClearlyRated’s 10-year Diamond Award for client satisfaction. We asked Nicola for her advice to firms that want to follow in Perkins & Co’s footsteps using NPS. Below are her four tips. Assign an internal champion. Before committing to work with ClearlyRated, assign a champion to guide the project internally. Then give the process the time and the resources it requires. Define your strategic reasons for doing the survey. If you only start an NPS survey program to check a box (Surveyed clients? Check!), to make the Best of Accounting list, or to earn a high NPS to share with prospects and clients, you’re missing out. Asking your clients for feedback is a powerful testament to your interest in getting feedback about what it’s like to work with you. You need to do something with that information. This brings us to the next tip. Create a process to follow up on feedback. Remember: Feedback without action might leave your clients feeling less happy than they were before! Commit to receiving responses without bias. It’s easy to accept the positive comments and dismiss the negative, but the knowledge you gain will be more impactful if you can review it with a critical eye and an openness to considering change. In other words, have the difficult conversations and take the necessary action if a client is dissatisfied. Celebrate your wins! Take advantage of the positive cultural benefits when clients highly rate your firm and your employees. Perkins & Co often serves as a team, but individuals value kudos and acknowledgement, even among their peers. The survey will give you powerful information. Make the most of it—and good luck! Interested in getting results like Perkins & Co? We would love to start the conversation! 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