Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Keep Clients Happy

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Keep Clients Happy

Article excerpt

Arvid Mostad, a senior partner at Mostad and Christensen Inc., a CPA firm in Oak Harbor, Washington, says he learned a business lesson the hard way--by losing clients.

Many clients, he explains, initially engaged his firm for the personal service it offered--and, initially, they got just that: A senior partner made all the client contacts. In time, though, recognizing it would not be possible for those senior partners to make every client call--especially for minor questions or issues that could be addressed in a telephone conversation--he arranged for subordinates to make those contacts. So, for example, when the need arose, Bob in bookkeeping or Carol in payroll would call a client for information or handle a client's inquiry.

Shortly thereafter, Mostad says, he was surprised when some clients began to leave. When he asked them why, they said they felt they no longer were getting personal service, that they were being handed off to subordinates. Apparently, clients were interpreting those contacts from subordinates as evidence junior staff members now were servicing them. His explanation that senior partners always provided full oversight came too late; they already had engaged a new firm. …

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