Customer Success in Professional Services?

Last week, I had the privilege of attending LinkedIn’s Talent Intelligence Experience. It’s amazing to see the opportunities that are available with using data and insights.

A couple of key findings:

  1. 89% of people are open to the right opportunity
  2. People data is the number 1 Global Trend
  3. Soft skills and customer engagement is exponentially increasing in value

According to their Emerging Jobs Report, the top emerging job is Customer Success Manager. Essentially a role that exists to ensure that customers and clients are utilising the company’s product to the best extent.

What does this mean for Accounting and Law Firms?

Customer service, client management, client engagement – call it what you will – seeps through the fabric of professional services firms. Well run firms have a focus on maintaining client contact – even to the extent of setting KPIs against them (calls must be returned in 24 hours etc).

Clients want to feel a level of intimacy and trust from their advisors. Technical skills are important, however, work in the SME space is generally won on relationships. Partners and Directors place a strong onus on the interpersonal skills of the people joining them because the ability to build rapport with clients is imperative.

As data and technology increase their (almost pervasive) grip on our lives, we will continue to see the importance in relationships and customer success. Ensuring a client knows and understands how best to utilise you and your services, will greatly increase your ability to retain them.

Cost of client acquisition is greater than cost of client retention.

Are your offerings, and what the client expects to receive aligned? Tech has driven the use of Customer Success Managers because clients are willing to vote with their feet if they feel they aren’t receiving the best from their product.

Do your clients actually know the full spectrum of what you can offer? Of what you can do? Of what benefit you can add?

An example:

The other day I was speaking with a mate who has built a strong business over the past while. They’re now at the point where they could use a little extra capital, so they went to the bank.

As per process, the Bank Manager asked them for a bunch of financial models. When I spoke with my mate to ask him what he was doing for the Bledisloe, he told me that he was trying to figure out how to build these models and would probably watch the game at home!

He then asked if I knew anyone who could help… Well, why didn’t he ask his accountant? Because he wasn’t aware they could do that.


That’s a real-life example of a conversation between two owners of SME businesses. Two owners of businesses that you probably target. How could you focus on retaining them?

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