Every business has a long list of business obstacles – it’s the nature of the beast. Most are solid walls built of brick or drywall that you have to hammer through on a regular basis. On this list you’ve got: competitors, staffing and the labor pool, market forces, changing technology, security breaches, bad coffee in the break room, you name it. Every accounting firm or business wages daily struggles on these varied fronts. However, what’s really the ultimate challenge for all of us – accountants, marketers and every other business person – is finding and conquering these obstacles that are not obvious. Public accounting firms that take the extra steps to gather business intelligence on competitors, clients, prospects and referral sources are winning the battles in their respective markets and practice niches. This intelligence often yields information relevant to eliminating those obstacles that aren’t staring you right in the face.
One roadblock that shouldn’t be there for any business is poor customer service. Providing a high level of customer service should be first and foremost for every business out there, but sadly, it’s not. Does you public accounting firm excel with customer service like a Nordstrom or does it fall short of that high-caliber mark?
Quite often when we think of poor customer service our minds drift to experiences with various fast food restaurants, cable TV or telephone companies … and the dreaded Transportation Security Administration. You may have recently read that the pesky ole TSA is desperate for PreCheck customers after three years of this program. One common complaint among PreCheck purchasers is that TSA often shuttles too many non-PreCheck people into the PreCheck line in order to keep workers busy. That’s one sure way to deflate any semblance of customer service that the TSA (or any business) might have – irritate your paying customers by giving the same service to other people for free right in front of them, worsening the paying customer’s experience in the process.
Some business obstacles you’ll always have on your plate, but some of them are within your control and can be scooted off the plate onto the floor and then mashed down with a hard stomp of the boot. Take a step back and view your customer service delivery objectively – and then ask your customers. Your view and their view may or may not be in-sync.