Networking in Surrey

A company I've worked with for a few years now, have gone from strength to strength.  So much so, that the 2 owners are currently taking an 8 week sabbatical in foreign climes, and whilst they're away, I'm minding the business for 2 days a week.

The difference between meeting the directors at work and me working from their offices has been a real eye opener.  I've been surprised that a company I thought I knew pretty well, has some quite basic issues in customer service and credit control that have been very easy to spot in just a few hours.  A timely reminder that there is no substitute for observing how things are really working at the sharp end. 

So what about you?  How far is your office away from the shop floor?  When was the last time you looked at your website objectively and wondered how a brand new visitor finds their way around?  And can you put yourself in your customers shoes and see how your service measures up in thier eyes?  And have you found the balance between collecting your hard earned cash and keeping good customer relations? 

Or if your business is just you, perhaps you could buddy up with a networking colleague and review each others business.  It would be interesting to see what new thoughts this might bring to how you run your business.





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Comment by Jayne Westwood on March 7, 2012 at 10:12

Sian I think this could be a really good move for you in offering an improved service to your clients.  Perhaps for some it may not be possible if their premises don't have the space to allow you to work effectively and locations that involved a significant amount of travelling time may not be as attractive.  

If we think about the typical moans a client might make about their accountant what might they be?  (I'm repeating things I've hard in the past here).   Doesn't understand my business.  I don't feel comfortable asking questions.  They charge a lot for very little.  They're not proactive.  I'm just a small client.  They take an age to come back to me.

I don't believe any accountant sets their business up with that in mind but it peoples perceptions can be quickly set.  Working from your clients premises let's them see exactly what you do for them.  Being on site you will hear more about the day to day running of their business, understand it more quickly and be able to offer advice and suggestions drawing on your experience.  It also helps you develop a deeper relationship with the client, making them feel important and provides the ideal opportunity for them to ask questions and see the value you add to their business.  And we all know how important relationships are for customer loyalty and recommendations.

From your perspective their may be some efficiency gains too.  If you are on site and are missing some information or need an explanation, so much easier to resolve the issue face to face.  If you have some clients who regularly call on you with questions, they are more likely to save them for your visit.  For you, less interruptions and you'll provide faster advice as your brain is already in the mode of X client.  If you work from home, it can sometimes be difficult to discipline yourself into productive working 8 hours a day - spending time on clients premises you are likely to be more focussed and less distracted.

So overall yes I think its a great idea,  some good wins for you in productivity, client retention and new client acquisition.  If you care to drop me an email I'll give you some other suggestions on how you might trial it.

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