Updated: Mar 4, 2020
Our latest client development surveys reveal the latest insights on what clients expect from advisers.
Clients come to Extax Advisory when they have decided to hire experts to solve a problem. That has everything to do with their core business and they want to focus on their business idea without losing sleep on tax payments and accounting.
Long Term Success
Once entrepreneurs decide to outsource help for advisory and compliance, they expect viable solutions enabling long-term success. It is up to the adviser to understand how to package their offerings and pairing each service package to the value they create.
High Technical Competence is now a Basic Expectation
Indeed the very basic expectation is that adviser must be objectively and legally correct at any time, while also being up-to -date. Since the range of compliance and tax requirements tend to be increasingly complex, clients expect their tax adviser to explain tax issues in a comprehensible manner, enable them to appreciate the risk with relevance to their business so they can make the right decisions.
Demonstrate A Problem Solving Mindset
Simply talking about technical jargon may sound smart but this will not forge long term partnerships if the adviser does not show a thorough understanding of the business, explain the risks in a relevant way, and propose at least two or more solutions to solve the problem.
So How do we keep up with client expectations?
From our surveys, we have gathered some key points that are universally fundamental in this day to achieve client satisfaction. While some may seem obvious, keeping these factors at the back of ones mind when dealing with any adviser will significantly enhance interaction and value creation with any client relationship.
Developing a Triangulated Understanding of Stakeholders
Not just with the key business stakeholder, but with the management and the staff too. Our research has analyzed our client portfolio and sought feedback from an array of highly experienced advisers to summarise their lessons learnt, best practices. One recurring success factor was the triangular "1-up, 2-down" stakeholder management approach.
This triangular approach to knowing stakeholders is very powerful and gives more depth, understanding and more to converse with the relevant stakeholders if the adviser is aware of who their stakeholder reports to, and who works for making their day a success ( at least 2 stakeholders who report into them).
Deep Empathy and Mutual Trust
Once we know our clients’ business, plans, expectations, and needs, but will they just open up and lay everything you wish they knew was relevant?
Building mutual trust is an important process that can significantly boost value creation with the client relationship. It starts with articulating what clients can expect from us, clearly defining our services and explaining our processes and trimeframes. One important aspect of this is to also clearly articulate what part of the clients expectations cannot be met, and renegotiating this at the onset or as soon as possible.
The more certainty offered, clients know what to expect so they can focus on their businesses without worrying about taxation or accountancy standards.
Appreciating Cultural Dimensions
Often underestimated and frequently affecting dynamics, people have different cultural preferences and pre-programmed understanding of behaviours both explicit and implied, to assess competence and scope for trust. These can range from the tone, the energy, directness, pro-activeness, tolerances to variances in time, budgets, scope.
Some cultures have a different attitudes to compliance, idea of taxation, and hallmarks of ethics and trust. Encourage the client to articulate their goals, as questions to allow them to articulate the implied goals too.
Make sure that both sides fully understand how the other side’s processes and systems work. To avoid any kind of misunderstandings, we not only pay close attention to these differences, but, for example, we also reach out within your network to reconnect with colleagues who may be able to assist you in gaining a deeper understanding of cultures you may be unfamiliar with.
Is Technology Relevant?
New technologies are already disrupting the services industry, and they mushroom at a fast pace. The good news is not all of them will be adopted by clients and not of them are yet fit for adoption by clients.
Always Know What Technology Disruptions Are Available.
Being unaware of their pros and cons can be embarrassing when the client discusses solutions being promoted in the market by a competing service provider or a technology company that recently pitched to them.
Go back to the fundamentals of the clients needs and hear them out on what they feel needs serious improvements. One such example is cloud-based migration and cloud based solutions where today, clients can check the books at the end of the month online and see how their business performed from their mobile or tablets, anywhere, anytime.
Future Trends Matter! ... Only if they offer tangible benefits to the Client Business.
In the future, more aspects of work will be fully automated with real-time results, by the day, enabling better oversight and steering and even fewer costs due to AI-powered accounting software. Thus seeing this trend is inevitable, keep aware of top upcoming software and real life cases you hear on adoption success stories AND not so successful stories in the market.