For the third consecutive year, HLB Mann Judd Perth Partner, Litsa Christodulou, has been nominated for “Most Client-Focused Accountant” at the Financial Review Client Choice Awards.
These awards recognise and celebrate excellence in professional services firms across Australia. After winning this award in 2018, and being nominated again in 2019, we asked Litsa to share her insights on client service excellence.
By Litsa Christodulou
I am humbled to be nominated again for the 2019 Client Choice Awards. I have been very fortunate to work with amazing clients and staff, and I appreciate their ongoing support. I don’t believe there’s a perfect formula for delivering client service. I do however keep these points in mind when working with clients.
Communication is the first and most important pillar for establishing a strong client relationship. It starts with being upfront and honest across all matters, whether good or bad. An open line of communication helps us solve issues together and aim for the best possible outcome.
Often, “accounting-speak” can get quite technical – it’s my role to translate this information in a manner that is understood by the client. The communication must be simple, direct, honest and clear.
I also prefer telephone or face-to-face communication with clients. There’s no doubt that technology has changed how we communicate but it has removed some human interaction which was once common-place in business.
2. Mutual Trust
With all client relationships, I place an emphasis on building trust, which takes time. It’s important that the client trusts I have their best interests in mind.
I try and achieve this by putting myself in the client’s shoes. If I feel like I’m part of their business, it helps me develop solutions that benefit the client. The economy will always have its ups and downs, so it’s important that the client knows I’m there for them during the good and bad times.
I make it a priority to be accessible to clients. Emergencies happen, and clients need support when these situations arise. All my clients have my mobile number and, thanks to today’s technology, getting in touch has never been easier.
4. Accuracy & Efficiency
The work we do is completed to a very high standard and in a manner that meets industry standards and regulations. However, sometimes the work is urgent and becomes a priority. I find it’s important to be upfront with the client about how much time is involved in order to set realistic expectations.
At HLB Mann Judd, we focus on training staff to be the best they can be. This includes encouraging staff to engage and develop relationships with clients. We empower staff to face issues head on and make important decisions as well as working as a team to ensure ideas are welcomed and shared.
I make it a priority to spend time and mentor staff. As a Partner, I consider a part of my role in the firm is to nurture staff and assist in their professional development. My aim is to keep them motivated and interested in what they’re doing, and ensure they are receiving the best possible training.
HLB Mann Judd has a high staff retention rate which assists with continuity of client service. We offer an attractive work environment for staff and we have a wonderful internal culture. Clients can “feel” this when they come into the building or deal directly with the firm’s staff.
6. Personalised Service
Every client is unique and a “one size fits all” approach isn’t effective. The service we provide must be personal and tailored to the client’s needs. Therefore, getting to know the client, their goals and what keeps them up at night is important.
7. Client Feedback
I take client feedback very seriously. It’s the best way to learn, improve, and discover my own strengths and weaknesses.
We encourage our clients to give us feedback through both formal and informal processes. They provide us with a direct and honest insight into our service and approach. Listening and then taking action to make change based on the client’s feedback ensures we always improve upon our client experience.
Clients seek stability. It builds trust in an organisation and brand. The client wants to know that you will be there for them today and tomorrow. I am proud to be part of a firm that has earned a reputation in both Perth and across the Australasian region for delivering first-class service to clients.