What does this mean?
We have thought hard and long about what this means. A lot of things have gone into shaping our thoughts of what a great experience in the cloud is. The biggest factor by far has been clients themselves.
One client in particular started us on this journey. I won’t mention names for privacy reasons. But they were a family owned business, in wholesaling. The main managing director had an IT background and his wife who ran administration and marketing had a strong marketing background. Both of them came from corporate backgrounds and were very business savvy. The business employed around twenty other individuals and distributed products Australia wide.
We were quite confident in our processes at the time we met these guys, as we had quite a few implementations under our belt.
So no one was going to tell us what to do, and how to do it.
However, soon after we signed up this particular client, things went down south pretty quickly. They literally mocked our process. Initially we spent a lot of energy fighting back, nicely ofcourse, ie through gritted teeth. As we thought we were right, and so did they, things grew increasingly tense. Until on one occasion the managing director completely lost it and verbally abused my business partner.
It was around this point that we both sat down and considered just tossing them as a client. Then something strange happened, we decided to be humble and allow this situation to teach us something.
It was at this moment that we began this journey of really understanding how to create great experiences for customers. The moment we threw aside our pride, was the defining moment we really started to learn and care. To see things from the client’s perspective. To truly get into a mindset of understanding the needs of our clients, and create a system that supported and embraced this mindset.
So what lessons did we learn and what did this end up looking like?
Well it did not happen all at once. But little by little, we grew less stubborn and more attentive!
A realisation dawned on us we needed to get to know our client and their respective business even better. We started by altering our scoping process. So from the get go we went into even greater depth to learn about our clients. This helped us to get a thorough understanding of their needs. Our quotes were then more reflective of the requirements of the customer.
Implementation & Training
Our Implementation process had an overhaul. We realised we did not have any system to what we did. So the first thing was creating a system. We began searching for project management/CRM software that we could better manage this process.
We must have gone through about four different solutions and finally we found something that fit our culture and the way we work. This allowed us to collate all the data and information and follow a very systemised process. Not just something in “my head”.
Collectively as a team, we decided we needed to spend more time physically with the client. Often staff would dismiss things as little or not important, and we would end up missing these finer details. In our experience it is the little things that end up adding up to big things. So prior to any of our implementations, we spend up to an entire day onsite going through key individuals workflow. This ensures that we understand clearly how things flow in their business.
Finally once the implementation is complete we spend upto a week with our client, working one on one with staff to ensure that they have customised training that fits their workflow. We also fine tune the system to better fit the needs of staff in this period, which is a key part of physically being with the client. This has become a high priority for us, and we will travel all over Australia, New Zealand and around the world to ensure that the client gets the best possible experience.
We felt this was our achilles heel in our entire process. Initially we did not have a way to track and manage support. With any implementation, the initial month is always peppered with many support emails and phonecalls.
It was January 2017 and we had four jobs going on at once. With so many requests for support, in all honesty we just could not keep track of them. We felt exhausted as we were desperately trying to do the right thing by clients, and the situation was utterly hopeless.
Once again our lowest points have also been our brightest moments. We discovered our project management software also had a support ticketing system built into it. The rest as they say was history.
As we look at hiring staff and growing, we want to keep the same level of service and value to our customers. One of our key points of difference is that our team is made up of accountants or a background in accounts. As such we always want to find the right personality blend that has the technical savvy, as well as the personal skills to connect with clients.
We have a lot of clients that are always asking for assistance with reconciliations, so we decided to invest and developed our newest addition Marlon (yes another Marlon lol). He is our support and reconciliation expert. We are thrilled to have him with us, and he will add another level of deep level support that we feel is lacking.
Ultimately we will never stop listening and growing, and time will tell as to where this journey will take us.
If your organisation needs any assistance or perhaps you are in an advisory role and need some helps with clients moving to the cloud, please feel free to contact us anytime. We would love to hear from you, and try our best to help you out.