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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.