TFYW#064: 4 Ways To Turn Client Feedback Into Your Superpower

Dec 1, 2023

Today is about the fastest way to increase sustainable revenue in your firm.

The Right Problem to Solve

One of the biggest issues in my firm was not knowing what to do next.

I had a slowly growing client list, decent automations, and plans for adding team members.

I was busy completing client work while trying to grow. I didn’t know where to invest my shrinking, non-billable time.

After some time, I learned that the key to cutting through the noise is understanding the problem you’re trying to solve.

That may seem overly simple, but it’s something that I still ask myself frequently.

Here’s an example:

My biggest problem in the first few years was needing more clients – at least that’s what I thought.

I was fixated on the fact that I didn’t have enough clients. I felt my revenue and take-home goals would be met if I just had more clients.

After struggling for a while, I realized that more clients was not the problem I should be trying to solve. My problem was not quantity but quality of clients.

I peeled back a layer.

From there, it took a bit more time to realize that finding good clients was still too broad of a problem. I had to get more narrow.

I had little insight into my clients’ experience before and during their engagement.

I’d been dissociating the clients’ needs from what I was selling them.

I peeled another layer back.

At that point, I needed to dive deeper to refine the problem.

I was stuck on an unsolvable general problem, which was a combination of small, solvable problems.

This is from a past newsletter. I’ve added the step for this example.

I couldn’t get to finding new clients because I hadn’t solved for each step to create that pipeline. I hadn’t solved for:

  1. A consistent way to connect with 200 people;
  2. A system to convert them to contact (via a newsletter or lead magnet sign up);
  3. A nurturing campaign of content to get contacts on a discovery call;
  4. A process to craft proposals to sell solutions instead of just services.

When we don’t peel back the layers, we get stuck either trying to solve a problem that is too large or the wrong problem altogether.

Feedback To Identity Problems

Most firms have the goal to increase sustainable revenues.

However, ‘increasing sustainable revenues’ is ‘similar to needing more clients’ – it’s an unsolvable, general goal.

If we break it down, there are only three ways to generate more revenue:

  1. Sell to more clients ->Increase client base
  2. Sell more to clients -> Increase the average size of engagement
  3. Sell more frequently to clients -> offer recurring or subscription engagements

Further, the order in which we go after these methods affects the scalability of increasing our revenue.

Before we simply sell to more clients, we should maximize how much we sell each one.

Maximizing revenue per client is less about squeezing more tasks in our engagements and more about how we can increase our impact.

Figuring out what the biggest impact is, requires feedback.

Feedback should be gathered on:

  1. Understanding and crafting your high-value solution
  2. Marketing + Selling your high-value solution
  3. Executing on your high-value solution
  4. Refining your high-value solution

Creating sustainable revenue growth in your firm demands client feedback.

I’ve seen firms (including my own) retreat from high-value or advisory services because it ‘hasn’t’ worked.

They’ve jumped in advisory without consulting with their clients. Typically, cash flow projections are an easy service to offer. So the firms slap a high value price on the service and push it as a ‘strategic advisory service for clients wanting more control over their cash flow’.

After a short period, the client isn’t getting the value they want, and the engagement ends.

At the end of the day, cash flow projections alone do not solve a highvalue problem.

 

If you don’t remember anything else from this week’s newsletter, remember this:

 

Never try to create a high-value solution in a vacuum. High value problems are solved with consultation, not assumptions.

 

When To Get Feedback

To put clients and their feedback in your high-value service development, focus on four engagement points:

1. Discovery Call

Discovery calls are important for two reasons:

  1. To sell your services to your prospect, and
  2. To learn about what problems your services should solve.

We sometimes think business development is solely selling services. However, it also includes market research to see what holes exist for the clients you want to serve.

I wasn’t good at offering high-value services, until I’d had enough conversations to know what problems my prospects were facing.

Many of the questions you ask prospects will lead them to give answers with general, unsolvable problems, like:

  • Sales have plateaued
  • Margins are getting smaller
  • We don’t have cash to expand.

You’ll need to dig deeper. You’ll have to ask better questions. Here’s a good list.

2. Onboarding

When a client joins your firm, they’ve probably left another service provider.

You want to know why they left the other service provider. You don’t need them to drudge up all the garbage, but ask what they hope to achieve by switching providers.

Again, they may give you general, unsolvable pain points like:

  • I want to receive more information during the process
  • I want more actionable details and steps
  • I want more details to improve my profit.

You can ask

  • Tell me more about how… [insert general pain point]
  • How did… [insert general pain point]… impact you and your business?

These questions should be part of your onboarding process. Not only will you get actionable feedback, but your clients will value the attention you have for them.

 

3. During The Engagement

During onboarding, you’ll highlight the expected timeline, which should include one or two ‘checking in’ touchpoints. You should schedule these touchpoints during onboarding.

If they don’t make it on your calendar, they probably won’t happen.

Explain that these touchpoints are to update the client on the engagement process.

During these touchpoints, you’ll ask for specific feedback on the onboarding process and the engagement steps up to that point.

Ask about specific steps:

  • “How did the onboarding go for you?”
  • “Did anything feel clunky filling out the company information form?”
  • “Anything you’d improve when we send over the draft financials?”

For recurring clients, we sometimes put the engagement on auto-pilot. Even though we’re interacting with the client frequently, we don’t take time to discuss the engagement high level to realign and manage expectations.

4. End Of The Engagement

It can be hard to get feedback at the end of an engagement, especially if the engagement didn’t finish as planned.

But feedback from a bad experience is worth more than 10 positive experiences.

If you use the Net Promoter Score, follow up on any score lower than 8.

You can send an email to the client along these lines:

Hi Client,

I wanted to follow up on the net promoter score survey you filled out. I feel like we have room to improve our service, and I would appreciate your feedback.

Do you have time for a quick 5 min conversation?

Thanks

Again, ask specific questions to get past the general feedback.

End-of-engagement feedback should be a core workflow in your firm and communicated as part of the engagement.

It can be uncomfortable to get negative feedback, but it goes back to the problem you’re trying to solve.

Do you want to increase your revenue or protect your ego?

Build The Firm You Want.

Mark

P.S. Email Mark@FirmNexus.com with something that you want me to talk about. I’ll add it to the list. 

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