Three Client Experience 2.0™ Firms Share their Secret to Success in 2020 and Beyond.
Client Experience 2.0 and the Secret to Success
Client Experience 2.0™ is a mindset + technology approach that helps all boats rise in a firm. Clients get the modern responsive service they love (with EASY being the operative word for every touchpoint with the firm) and staff no longer waste time asking clients repeatedly for documents or searching through multiple platforms for things clients have sent. But how did they do in 2020?? What was their secret to success?
We sat down with three firm owners who were not only able to rise above everything that 2020 threw at them, but who thrived in the process. Their stories demonstrate the positive outcomes when a firm moves to the Client Experience 2.0™ model, even in a pressure cooker year like 2020. Let’s meet our owners.
Lozelle Mathai is the founder of Closing Your Books, in Oregon. Lozelle’s firm serves small and medium businesses with outsourced CFO controller-based advice given in a proactive scenario-based style. Communication is key to keep everyone in sync.
Janelle Pedulla, CPA, is the owner of LongwoodCPA in Longwood, Florida. Janelle purchased her firm on January 2nd of 2020, after being employed there for five years. LongwoodCPA specializes in working closely with small business owners and giving them a full-service end-to-end approach.
Jemel Smith is the CEO of BottomLine Tax Services, in Atlanta, Georgia. Jemel’s firm specializes in small business accounting and tax planning, including normal tax compliance. Jemel’s team serves hundreds of clients with tax and accounting services throughout the year.
In 2020, Technology Helped Staff Get More Done
These firms provide very different services to their clients, but each used Liscio as the anchor to provide an amazing experience for clients and for staff. With 2020 in hindsight, each leader explained how Client Experience 2.0™ helped them keep clients on track, and staff working at peak efficiency in the process.
For Janelle, security and ease of use for clients AND staff was a top priority as a CPA. Liscio provided her team with a 100% secure “home base” for clients and staff to easily communicate and exchange documents quickly.
In Janelle’s words: “Because clients respond so quickly with Liscio, we were in an awesome position with respect to our workflow – we were able to handle the endless tax season and PPP/EIDL processes much more easily than if we had stayed with NetClient.”
For Jemel, it was all about bringing things together into one place so staff could work quickly. Prior to moving to Liscio, the team was drowning with too many places to look for client documents and the pace was not letting up. Jemel considered hiring a dedicated person to find everything, put it all together, and then give it to the technical staff so they could spend their time productively. Luckily he found Liscio instead. His staff and his clients love it!
Per Jemel, before Liscio, his staff “had to look in several locations, whether it was email, a portal or the client’s Google Drive. We had a hard time managing where all the documents and communications were. In addition, when you add in texting from clients, I just had no visibility into the conversations that were going on. Liscio solved all of that.”
His clients love using Liscio so much that if he takes just a bit longer to respond than usual, they ask him “Are you still using Liscio? If not – bring it back!”
For Lozelle, email was causing problems because staff couldn’t see things sent to different inboxes, and the email threads on key decisions got very long. Plus, if someone left a key person off a thread, suddenly the critical communication loop was broken.
“With Liscio, there are no more long threads of emails, no more losing the train of thought. No more wondering where are we with this next scenario? Where is that email? What was the decision? We are all on the same page – everything is visible and tracked.” Lozelle says.
Truly Delighting Clients In The Process
Because a core component of awesome client experience is ensuring that clients get answers when they need them, Client Experience 2.0 firms delight their clients by selecting tools that clients find easy to use, and that increase visibility and collaboration for staff as well.
Janelle reports that she is able to respond much quicker to her clients, with much less effort. For example, when a staff member goes on vacation but something pops up for one of their clients, Janelle or other members of the team can respond quickly because Liscio gives them full visibility to clients they are assigned to work on. No more data silos due to staff inboxes not being visible to other staff members, and clients get the answers they need without delay.
“It’s a beautiful thing when I can sit on the beach and answer a question that was posed to a staff person who is out of the office! I love it, and clients love that they get their answers fast.”
Lozelle’s clients love having information at their fingertips wherever they happen to be, with fewer meetings.
“Not only are the right people included for each of my client companies, they each have Liscio on their phones, so instead of having unnecessary meetings and being Zoom exhausted, questions get answered and we’re done and moving onto the next stage. The ball just doesn’t drop.”
For Jemel – his clients love to get documents securely on their phones, via Liscio. Before Liscio, the firm used several different apps so if they needed a client to do a task or if the client needed the firm to do something, they had to go into either SmartVault or several other apps. It wasn’t a great experience. Now, they just go into Liscio. Jemel finds that client engagement and response time is so much faster now that his clients can just use their phones to send things easily and securely through Liscio.
“Because you can’t email anything in tax, when clients ask for a document it’s great to send it right to their phone, securely through Liscio. They get it quickly, it’s secure, and they can share documents easily with my team as well. Clients respond so much faster now.”
Saving Time and Increasing Throughput, in 2020
Janelle estimates that her firm saves days, if not weeks, per year by not chasing things and not having to check another channel. This time was channeled into producing an astonishing 150 additional tax returns in 2020, with no additional staff or staff overtime!
“With Liscio, it’s all right there in one place, and clients are super responsive because they can do everything we need them to, easily, using just their phones. We added an extra 150 returns since I took over in January, so, for us, efficiency is super important. But I have not expanded my staff at all, and nobody’s working more than 45 hours a week – it’s amazing.”
Her firm saves time with every workflow that involves client interactions. Using getting an engagement letter signed as the example –
Prior to Liscio, the flow involved 8 steps and often took days to complete:
- Staff member creates the engagement letter
- Staff uploads it to the portal
- Staff composes the email to the client, with a link to the portal
- Client has to open email (sometimes they ignore the email, and have to be reminded)
- Client has to log in to the portal (often they need help doing this)
- Client has to download the document
- Then client signs and returns it back to the portal (often they need help doing this)
- Staff downloads it from the portal
Compare to Liscio – 3 steps and usually completed same day:
- Staff creates the engagement letter in Liscio, then sends it to the client with one click.
- Client gets a push notification on their phone, clicks the link and signs the letter
- Staff person is notified that the letter is signed and securely stored in Liscio.
Jemel’s team was a lot more organized. Client documents all came in to Liscio so that staff only needed to look in one place. In 2020, the firm experienced a dramatic increase in paperwork and compliance work due to PPP and EIDL loans for his clients, but the team was able to handle it easily using Liscio.
And for Lozelle, decisions are just made faster now. Because everyone has access to the relevant communications and documents, it takes less time to get the key client and staff contributors aligned.
“No more searching for answers and inputs that are spread out over multiple email strings, and decisions can be made in a fraction of the time than before Liscio.”
Client Experience 2.0 is not “all or nothing”
Client Experience 2.0 doesn’t take anything away from your existing client experience. Keep the parts that work for you – in-person meetings, zoom calls, etc. But give your clients delightfully easy to use technology that fits seamlessly into their daily lives, so when they need to ask or answer a question, or securely receive, sign, or send documents to you, they can do it easily using just their mobile phone. The best part is, you’ll be delighting your clients AND your staff.
Why not make 2021 the year that you make it truly easy to interact with you?
Thank you so much for reading this, and if you have any questions, or would like to understand how easily you can roll out Client Experience 2.0 in your firm, please get in touch. Our humans are really nice and we would love to talk with you!
Note: This article is a precis of a one-hour Live Case Study featuring our three firm owners, Lozelle Mathai, Janelle Pedulla, and Jemel Smith. If you would like to view this webinar, you’ll find it here, on the Liscio YouTube Channel.