I do my share of traveling to clients, speaking engagements, and conferences. Since I’m always looking for stories that I can incorporate into my consulting I pay particular attention to the level of client service that I receive from the airlines, rental car companies, and hotels. Let me share with you the spectrum of service I received on a couple of recent trips.
I checked into a newly opened hotel. The doorman and the personnel at check-in were friendly and welcoming. However, when I got to my room I found that the bed wasn’t made – the room hadn’t been cleaned! I went back to the check-in desk, explained what happened, and the gentleman said, “That’s the second time that’s happened tonight.” Not the response I was looking for but I got a new room (that had been cleaned) and a free bottle of water.
I checked into an established hotel for a friend’s wedding. All personnel were extremely professional and polite. Every employee looked for ways to be helpful. A client service culture was evident. As I got ready for the wedding I noticed that my wool dress was full of static, not good to have your dress clinging to you especially with the dancing I was planning to do. I called housekeeping to see if they had Static Guard. No Static Guard. I tried water. No luck. Then, a knock on the door. Housekeeping brought me several dryer sheets, the sheets used in the dryer to prevent static cling. I rubbed the dryer sheets on my dress and slip, and presto! No static cling! Problem solved by a very creative, caring member of the housekeeping staff.
What I’ve learned so far is that in these competitive times all of us need to pay attention to the level of service we provide our clients, whether we’re operating a hotel, a rental car company, a consulting business, or a CPA firm.
Here are a few tips for my CPA firm colleagues to keep in mind during your busiest time of the year:
– Work as a team and communicate, communicate, communicate!
– Proofread and check your work in order to catch mistakes. Be sure clients’ names are spelled correctly and tax returns are sent to the correct address.
– Pay attention to the presentation of client financial statements and tax returns. It is part of your brand.
– Pay attention to your personal image and how clients perceive you. This includes how you are dressed, arriving on time, how you shake hands, the types of questions you ask and how you respond to client questions.
– Resolve problems quickly. Problems won’t go away by ignoring them.
– Remember to say “thank you” to clients.