Automated client satisfaction surveys, such as ones offered by Clearly Rated, CX Pilots, Ask Nicely, Alchemer and Qualtrics, are now a common tool in most accounting and advisory firms’ client experience (CX) toolboxes. While these surveys often ask many questions about a client’s satisfaction with particular staff, services or outcomes, the question that has received the most attention for a number of years is the one that yields a net promoter score (NPS): “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our firm to a colleague?”
Focus on More Than NPS
NPS is one of the easiest and fastest ways to measure client satisfaction. It helps firms categorize their clients based on their scores into detractors, passives (or neutral) and promoters. Firms can then compare their scores to their competitors to see how they rank against the competition.
But NPS has its shortcomings, especially as a gauge of the overall client experience. Because NPS is based on a response to a single question, its biggest drawback is the need for additional research. A narrow focus on NPS fails to consider client demographics and how they might affect scoring. Staff may become more concerned with receiving a high score than in exhibiting behaviors that would make clients genuinely satisfied. NPS by itself may not reflect actual interactions and experiences.
Improving Client Satisfaction Surveys
A better approach to developing client satisfaction surveys that actually measure a client’s experience is to start with strategy. Consider starting with a
firm’s mission, vision and goals, and developing questions that measure how the firm or team is meeting those goals.
- What is it like to be a client?
- What is it like to speak to or email with a member of the team?
- What additional help would be appreciated?
Many accounting and advisory firms are asking more complex questions and following up client satisfaction surveys with telephone or video interviews to help deepen client relationships and develop new products and services.
Client Satisfaction Surveys and New Client Needs
Marketers often are the first to use client satisfaction survey data and are in the best position to uncover new client needs. It’s not enough to simply report numbers and percentages; marketers must aggregate survey results and contextualize them, creating compelling narratives that can be turned into marketing and selling strategies. Building on the collaborative nature of the survey, business development teams can promote a new service to existing and prospective clients by saying, “You told us what you wanted, so here it is.”
View the full article on leveraging client satisfaction surveys to improve CX in the Spring 2021 issue of Growth Strategies to learn what marketers are doing with this survey information at their accounting and advisory firms.
About Richard Shippee
Richard is an independent consultant working with the Whitman Business Advisors team who provides Marketing and Corporate Communication services to accounting firms and other professional services companies.