Maybe you’ve had the experience of being a patient of Dr. Richards, a doctor or dentist who’s quite technically competent, but has no people skills. Every time you go for an appointment, you waste an hour of your day in the waiting room, because they’re always backed up. The receptionist is talking loudly on the phone about personal matters and you have to listen to every word, while your mind is really on your own health concerns. The health care provider, when you finally get into the office, is rude and hurried and doesn’t want to listen to you; you feel like an interruption.
You leave with nothing on paper and when you get home to talk to your spouse, you realize you can’t remember exactly what you were told. Despite all this, the diagnoses always seem to be right, and the treatments work. Maybe you’ve stayed on as the patient of a doctor like this and maybe you haven’t, but you can be sure that most people would change their providers if they had the option.
You don’t want your practice to be the CPA version of Dr. Richards. You can be sure, though, that Dr. Richards thinks he’s doing what he needs to do, because he’s giving you good health care. The problem is, he’s not thinking about the patient’s experience from the patient’s point of view.
Have you thought about your clients’ experience from the client’s point of view?
Here’s a quick exercise to help you get started. Choose any one of your clients (or if you’re new in practice and don’t have a client yet, imagine what you expect the experience of your first client will be like). Think about the various contacts that client has had with you since becoming your client.
• How did the client learn about your service?
• When and where have they met with you?
• What modes of communication do you use to contact them, and how often?
• How many of the clients’ encounters with you are likely to have felt positive?
• How many probably felt negative? Why?
Now make a list of qualities you imagine your clients are likely to desire in their experience with your firm. Again, if you have employees, you might want to ask them to do the same exercise and see if their lists are similar to yours.
Going through this exercise will help you ensure your clients’ experiences at your CPA office are NOT like those at Dr. Richards office.
I'd love to hear your thoughts.