3 Reasons Seeking Client Feedback is Fundamental to Your Success

January 3, 2019
3 Reasons Seeking Client Feedback is Fundamental to Your Success

If you run an accounting or law practice, you probably struggle to find the time to get feedback from your clients. At FirmChecker, we collect and analyse thousands of reviews of professional services firms. In this post, we’ll share what we’ve learned, and draw upon the expertise of Eric Ries and Paul Hugh-Jones.

Feedback Helps You Scale Big Ideas without breaking the bank

Eric Ries’ book The Lean Startup investigates the principles of scaling modern businesses cost-effectively. While it’s typically seen as the bible of tech entrepreneurs, it’s now essential reading for anyone involved in running law and accounting firms. It will be increasingly important to remain competitive.

Feedback is a central tenant of The Lean Startup, which advocates the following process:

  1. Test your ideas with real clients
  2. Build them
  3. Measure & Learn
  4. Iterate your product/service
  5. Repeat!

In short, when you’ve ideated a new product or service, don’t strive for perfection. Avoid paralysis by analysis. Instead, build a minimum viable product, get it in front of real customers quickly and measure how they react to it. In the case of law and accounting firms, asking for feedback in a systematic way is an easy way to Measure and Learn.

While simple, being disciplined about testing, measuring and learning helps you pull off big ideas with minimal waste. It stops you from building something beautiful that no one wants.

Maximising Organic Growth of Your Current Model, Client-by-Client: Paul Hugh-Jones

feedback in law and accounting firms

Paul Hugh-Jones, a Director of Beaton Research + Consulting, advises the senior leaders of the top-tier professional services firms of the Asia-Pacific. Paul summarises four choices that clients have after receiving a service from you:

  1. Voice (Complain/Give Praise)
  2. Neglect (ie. Start using another firm without telling you)
  3. Exit (i.e. Sack you, tell you why)
  4. Remain Loyal (Repeat-buy and/or advocate your services)

A and D are clearly the most desirable. Client complaints (A) aren’t palatable, but they are an opportunity to win new business.  (D) won’t always happen unless you know clients are happy. If you know they are happy, you can ask them for referrals and provide them with valuable content so you’re front of mind for their next purchase.

As Paul explains, both desirable client choices are greatly assisted by getting feedback systematically. Conversely, (B) and (C) can be minimised if you know what bugbears your clients have about your service. Accordingly, sourcing feedback helps you to be proactive about improving your service.

Key Lessons: 3 Reasons You Should Be Seeking Feedback Regularly

These pieces of thought leadership show why feedback is critical in for the big picture and small picture of your firm.

They highlight these 3 key reasons for seeking feedback:

  1. Increase Organic Growth. Client feedback massively assists word-of-mouth (i.e free!) growth of your practice, for the reasons outlined in Paul’s article. It reduces churn and sparks low-cost acquisition.
  2. Generate client-led ideas. Offer products and services clients want. Test your ideas with real clients before you waste money building something. It will be very obvious when you strike gold with an idea if you’re getting out of the building and seeing what people think.
  3. Check your execution is working. It’s one thing to have an idea, it’s another thing to execute. You should be making incremental changes to your products/services and testing how your clients feel about them constantly. This might feel like a lot of effort, but it will save you a huge amount of wasted effort, time and money in the long run, and result in better products and services.

Conclusion: Yes, this does apply to advice-based businesses

It no longer matters that you can sell expertise. Client are constantly looking for their advisory needs to be met in ways that are better, faster and cheaper. Getting feedback from them can help you stay ahead of the game and stop them going to the new and varied types of competitors your firm is increasingly facing.

About the Author

Ben Farrow is the Managing Director of FirmChecker and consults with Beaton Research + Consulting, the leading management consultants to professional services firms in Asia-Pacific. He holds commerce and law degrees from the University of Melbourne and digital marketing certifications from Northwestern University. 

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