Innovate Forward #7: Lean Into Proactive Communication & Ongoing Opportunities To Experiment
INNOVATE FORWARD #7 with Dixie McCurley.
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As a cutting edge organization, the newness of our approach to business in the past decade has been challenging to teach to prospective and actual clients. Because of the crisis, the value we provide has become apparent to our customers even though it’s been available. Thus, the crisis has illuminated the clear value propositions of companies working with us.
In retrospect, this season has been a lesson learned for us on how we can better communicate the value we deliver to our clients going forward.
Experiencing The Power Of Our Partnership Through Crises
Some business clients needed certain reports (break-even analysis for example), but it never was relevant to them. And since our clients didn’t know we could offer these break-even analyses on a dime; most believed a ten percent profit-margin was sufficient to address their concerns. Budgeting and forecasting are now critical to clients in crisis who didn’t need it before when the economy was humming along.
Standardizing our deliverables to clients, we included the budgeting and forecasting piece, but clients didn’t necessarily absorb what we reviewed and delivered. Our communication gap was significant, and it surfaced our company’s client communication growth opportunity. We previously served our clients listening and being responsive to their needs and requests, but now is the time to shift towards practicing proactive communication.
During the crisis, our phones rang off the hook, and we immediately saw that if we got on the front end and proactively communicated to all of our clients about their concerns and questions, it could help us alleviate the ten calls we got every hour.
We’ve leaned into proactive communication of what everybody needs to know so we can deliver better updates.
Proactively Leverage Technology Solutions
This proactivity equipped us to integrate technology tools (Microsoft Teams, Zendesk, Zoom, and Calendly) with Sage Intacct to effectively accomplish our goals in a digital environment.
Our team members are now using Zoom entirely, whereas we were only doing it piecemeal before. We then led, coached, trained, and taught businesses how to do the same.
To help our clients thrive, we’ve also had to explain new business models and share ideas. During the crisis, the number of views and insights we’ve provided has dwarfed what we’ve done in prior seasons. This experience for our clients set Trusted CFO Solutions apart from others providing similar technical accounting services.
In a crisis, our clients know we’re going to respond, and we’re going to learn from them on how we do things that make their ongoing routine activities and experience better.
What Does Proactive Communication Look Like Going Forward?
If the government rolls out another financial relief program, we’re going to proactively learn and guide our clients through the process. We’ll create communication and training programs for people to swiftly receive the information digitally. Those who subscribe will not have to research the details for three to five hours every day since we’ll be doing it on their behalf.
We won’t be reacting and consumed by a one-on-one approach, but we will instead drive advice to our clients in more effective ways. We’ve always been one-on-one with our clients, and that’s often worked, but now we’ve learned to communicate to the collective group quicker so we can then spend that time working with our clients to address the unique situations they need our support on; to survive and thrive in a season of uncertainty.
Experimenting With New Communication Channels
In addition to applying lessons learned, we’re also exploring new and different ways to communicate including videos like this series — Innovate Forward. It’s often in the accounting profession, that companies are reluctant to give advice that isn’t related to compliance.
In times of uncertainty, we must proactively share insights so clients can witness our thoughts about the changing environment. And we also must survey what’s coming up over the next six months including business challenges and stories of success. Telling our client’s stories is not simply a marketing endeavor but also a best practice for businesses to follow.
Opening Our Eyes To The Possibilities
Through this crisis, we’ve recognized how much value we deliver to businesses beyond what we knew was possible. Building a proactive, remote, and strong system-oriented business has increased our capacity and allowed us to deliver deeper support to existing clients. The increase of new customers to better cloud-based systems this year has shown us the unexpected possibilities ahead.
So what about you? What have you and your company learned as you’ve traversed this season of crises?
Dixie McCurley — Co-Founder of Trusted CFO Solutions
Never able to fully identify with the stuffy title of “accountant”, Dixie McCurley set out to revolutionize accounting practices for small- to medium-sized businesses by offering a new way of thinking about the process. With a unique method that capitalizes upon the latest technology, she walks each client through their pain points. In 2019, she was awarded the Financial Leader of the Year award for innovative solutions in finance.
Click here to learn more about Dixie.