Use Online Client Feedback to Improve Your Firm

Does the thought of conducting a client satisfaction survey scare you? You aren’t alone. Many accountants are afraid of getting less than stellar reviews. But guess what? Your clients are giving you feedback whether you asked for it or not – and that feedback is available for all to see online. And there is nothing you can do to stop online sharing, nor should you want to.

According to a 2015 survey by BrightLocal , 80 percent of people trust reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. That means your prospect trusts the words of friends and even complete strangers when evaluating your firm. Having information about your firm online will help drive new potential customers into your practice.

Don’t sit back and pretend that this feedback doesn’t exist. You need to know what’s being said about you online. More importantly, you need to use this feedback to improve what you do. Here are three things you need to do with any negative reviews you receive:

  1. Respond to Bad Reviews. A couple negative comments actually make you look authentic, and they lend credibility to the positive ones. What sets you apart is whether or not you respond and how you respond. You want to come across as human and caring, never like a robotic business where it’s your way or the highway.
  2. Identify Improvement Areas. Turn those negatives into positives. If people are saying you aren’t responsive, find ways to be more responsive. This may require firm-wide policies regarding response time or communication training for your team. If people say you overcharge them, consider developing fixed-fee pricing that clearly spells out what is included for that price.
  3. Improve Your Culture. When you hear multiple comments about the same thing, this may signal a bigger issue that stems from the culture of your firm. If your firm doesn’t value superior customer service, you won’t deliver it. If you don’t treat your team with complete professionalism, you aren’t showing them how to treat your clients. You have to set the tone at the top, provide training where needed and reward people who live your culture.

Learn more about turning online feedback into improved customer service in my Intuit tax blog post, Embrace Your Client Reviews to Improve Your Practice. Here I share how-to respond to bad reviews, provide tips for proactively searching for negative reviews and provide an example of how negative feedback can be turned into action items to improve your customer service.