Moving to Client Experience 2.0™ – What is holding you back?
The client service revolution is in full swing. Driven by the simple notion that clients want EASY, companies of every shape and size are racing to delight customers wherever and however they want to be served. Practically anything we’d like — from tonight’s dinner to tomorrow’s movie tickets — are literally at our fingertips. This level of convenience, enabled by technology so delightful you would never consider going back to the way you did it before, is Client Experience 2.0™ and is quickly becoming the expected level of service for all professional service firms.
Consider the apps on your phone and the bookmarks on your PC. They’re there because you enjoy using them. Uber is more convenient than hailing a cab. Online banking is easier than feeding checks into an ATM. Streaming music is easier than loading music onto your phone. By comporting seamlessly into our lives, great technology becomes essential. And the brilliant part is that this technology complements the traditional experience — meaning that we gain convenience without giving up a thing. This is Client Experience 2.0™.
What’s good for clients is good for business as well. Thriving businesses all have one thing in common — happy customers. Firms that make the leap to Client Experience 2.0 have everything to gain, including more referrals, more five-star online reviews, and higher client retention.
So why isn’t every firm moving to Client Experience 2.0™? What is holding them back?
Some people fear change
We get it – change can be daunting especially when you are busy. Let’s examine the main reactions when firms first hear about CX 2.0™ and what it means to their firm.
1. “My clients won’t use it.”
- Be careful not to paint with too broad of a brush. CX2.0™ is inclusive — not mutually exclusive. It is about including everyone and growing with your customers without compromising your own values. And the best part is that you can move most of your clients easily. Some may lag but that’s ok – you can still offer CX 1.0 to them as you are now. You lose nothing and gain everything in the process.
- Also – your clients are already there – just ask them how they deposit their checks now. Chances are they are using a banking app on their phone to snap a photo front and back then send. That’s CX 2.0™ in action. Seamless, delightful, and convenient.
- Demographics are changing. Clients are on the go, with their mobile phones in hand. Ask them if they would like hand-held convenience to deal with your firm.
2. “My staff won’t use it.”
- If this thinking were dominant, we might still be using paper ledgers or software on diskette.
- Chances are your staff use a lot of apps already in their personal lives. Ask them their favorites, and to explain why they like them. Do the words “easy” “convenient” “well-designed” “saves me time” appear over and over? Ask them to imagine “what would happen for our clients, in our firm, if we could make them feel that way about dealing with us?” Get them thinking about the experience for both clients and the firm.
- If your staff appear resistant, try this: ask everyone to put their phones on the table. How many Blackberries are there? How many flip phones? Remember when people swore they’d never use a phone without physical keys?
- We have some additional tips later in this article for how to bring your staff along on the journey.
3. “We are on app overload – we can’t learn another one”
- The right tools simplify your business, not complicate it. Most firms have too much software because they added it piece-by-piece to solve individual problems such as getting a signature or sharing a large file. This leads to workarounds and a lot of wasted time.
- Replacing a patchwork of texting, emailing, file sharing, portal and electronic signature solutions with an all-in-one Client Experience 2.0™ solution simplifies the experience for everyone.
- If your technology looks and feels as if it was designed a long time ago, chances are it was. Moving to a modern technology stack will pay immediate dividends in terms of speed and ease of use.
You are not alone! We hear these things all the time from firms across the country – and we also help those same firms make the move in a pain-free and delightful way.
The main thing we hear from firms who have made the move is “relief” – Client Experience 2.0™ has so many benefits and the positive feelings it generates for staff and clients are so palpable that everyone feels relieved.
Why you can’t put it off much longer
It might be appealing in the very short term to put off addressing the core issues but the problems start to show over the longer term. Single point solutions do not talk to each other easily, and can cause a lot of confusion and wasted steps. Clients are not delighted with portals and emails and neither are staff. Things fall through the cracks and everyone is operating under more stressful conditions, and wasting a lot of time.
Some clients let you know they are unhappy simply by leaving your practice and going to another. Some clients resort to texting you or calling you at all hours because they need your reassurance and can’t wait for an email response. And some simply ignore your communications or refuse to use your portal, resulting in documents being sent late after multiple attempts by staff to chase them down.
The effects on staff are just as extreme. Some feel daunted by the mountain of communications that they somehow have to process including answering stand-alone emails, figuring out where documents are stored, understanding what the status of any particular document is, and who dropped the ball (firm or client) when a document goes missing. Something has to give!
The Solution – Go Slow now, to Go Fast later
Experienced project managers always recommend breaking a project down into bite-sized chunks rather than using the “pig in the python” approach and stretching everyone to the limits.
A great way to do this is to start with the end in mind and work backwards, identifying allies who can help, and setting easily-achievable milestones. Thousands of accountants and bookkeepers have now moved to CX 2.0™ and they would never consider going back, now that they have experienced the benefits and seen how delighted their clients and staff are. If you were to talk to them now, most would say “I just wish I had done this sooner”.
Hear what Wayne Rivers has to say, about his firm’s move to CX 2.0™, using Liscio.
Planning Your Journey to CX 2.0™ in 30 days
Day 1: Start with the end in mind. Just as you would plan a family vacation, begin with the destination in mind. Spend time imagining what working at your firm would feel like if all client communications were handled in a streamlined way. No more emails back and forth. No more chasing documents. No more hunting for missing things. Instead, clients communicate with your firm using a delightful mobile app, and your staff sees all their communication come in separated by client and on an actionable dashboard. Tasks, to-do’s, sensitive documents, e-signatures, etc etc can all be viewed and tracked and tasked and handled easily. If one staff person is out of the office, others can pick up where they left off, which makes your client truly feel like they have a team supporting them. Storage is included, and you don’t have to worry about cost because unlimited clients are also included. You might even save money over all the single point solutions you are using now. If this all sounds out of reach, guess again. That technology is available today and it’s extremely affordable.
Day 2-7: Talk to your staff. Hold meetings with your staff and ask them what is taking up time in their day, and what processes are frustrating and prone to errors, etc. How much email are they handling daily? How many clients do they have to chase to get documents? How does all of that make them feel?
Once you have that information, ask them to imagine how they would feel if those frustrations went away, and more importantly, what would they do with the extra time that will be freed up? Would they spend more time doing valuable client advisory work? Would they work on learning new skills so as to rise up in the firm? The key here is to set the stage and then open the communication channels with staff so they feel heard and can get excited about the solution. (Note – if anyone is skeptical, call us – we can help – usually a demo will solve anyone’s questions or concerns)
Day 8-12: Plan the Move
- Determine where the best Contact and Client information lives. This is often comprised of names, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. and typically resides in the practice management, tax or CRM software.
- Consider whether the implementation will be rolled out in stages, or all at once. For example – you might choose to first focus on younger clients who are texting you at all hours, or the clients who complain about your portal the most, then bring everyone else on a little later.
- Select a “champion” to lead the implementation.
Day 13-15: Technical Preparation
- Export your Client and Contact data from your source system(s). Liscio will provide export instructions.
- Liscio will import the data within two business days.
- Liscio will provide code to add Liscio to your website. Forward it to your webmaster for publication on your go-live date.
Day 16-20: Train Staff
- Liscio’s product experts will train your team.
- Your designated champion will coordinate training times and ensure the agenda meets the needs of the staff.
- The champion will provide feedback and schedule additional training sessions, as desired.
Day 21-30 – Invite & train clients
- Liscio will provide a set of email announcement templates to inform clients of the good news. Each template highlights a major benefit for the client (mobile app, all-in-one platform, and security).
- Liscio will provide firm-branded announcements for your social media channels
- Liscio will provide email signature lines and graphics to help message to clients that there is a better, more secure way for them to work online with the firm.
- Liscio provides training and support to your clients. Contact information is available in product and is included in email announcements and signature lines.
Day 31 – Enjoy your new way of working!