Given the type of work I do I get to meet a lot of accountants, lawyers, management consultants and corporate advisers. Most of the people I meet are just fine. However, from time to time some people just “stick out.” Often its not because of their technical brilliance or long impressive track record it might be something as simple as being enthusiastic and passionate about their work. One such person is Karen Eaton – a client services director with accounting firm Allan Hall Business Advisors in Sydney, Australia.
Here is Karen’s response to the question, What do you do to understand what your clients really want?
Every client is unique and their needs and expectations will differ – there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to understanding what a client wants. Recognising this enables an adviser to tailor their services to provide advice that the client can rely on and use.
In my view, a good starting point in determining what your client wants is to simply ask them!
Good communication is vital. Take the time to listen to what they have to say; encourage them to be open; ask questions to clarify your understanding; and seek feedback to confirm that you are both on the same page.
Tailor your style. As the client shares their thoughts and opinions in their own words, you will gain insight not just into the business and its issues but also the client as a person. This enables you to individualise your approach and language style to suit that particular client.
Know the clients business. Gain an understanding of the client, their industry and the challenges they face. This knowledge allows you to assist the client to identify opportunities and to detect and avert potential problems early.
Build the relationship. Make the effort to get to know management and key staff, and to understand their roles within the business. Showing interest and being involved helps to build the relationship with the client and promotes mutual trust and respect.
Work together. Be honest, friendly, approachable and accessible. Offer the client solutions (not just answers) and provide practical advice to enable the client to make informed decisions. Encourage the client to consider non-financial and lifestyle factors when making decisions. Taking all these things into consideration will assist to promote a good understanding of each client’s needs and expectations, which provides a solid foundation on which to build or grow the relationship.
Nice one Karen!
See you next post,