Defining Client Value

Do you provide your clients with value?

Seems simple, right?

Of course you provide value. After all, you’re a qualified and experienced professional in your field. However, dig a little deeper and you may find that there’s more to this question than meets the eye.

It’s one thing to do a job and do it well, but another thing entirely when it comes to making sure what you deliver is actually of real value.

Not surprisingly, business owners are busy and (rightfully) focused on growth – how you help them achieve this is all that matters. So while you may know the services you provide are valuable, it may not be perceived as such by your customers.

After all, how many times have you paid for a service and walked away feeling like you received the bare minimum – that you received exactly what you asked for and nothing more? Just enough service to check the box, and certainly no deeper feeling that your business is better off because of it.

If this is how your clients feel about your services, you can be sure that there’s no real attachment to you and your practice, and that them taking their business elsewhere is just a referral away.

The goal is to extend beyond the perception of a commoditized service and drive client sentiment to one of an invaluable partner, a critical component of long-term success.

To help companies define value, Karl Stark and Bill Stewart sum it up nicely by saying

“The value customers receive is equal to the benefits of a product or service minus its costs.”

– Karl Stark and Bill Stewart

In other words, value is equal to the consumer surplus.

It’s a nice definition. It’s clean, tidy, and it makes a lot of sense. But therein lies the challenge. What if the benefit received is exactly in line with its cost?

Finding yourself in this cost/value equilibrium is a tenuous place to be as an accounting or bookkeeping professional. Sure, you deliver what’s asked of you, and your clients pay accordingly. But is it enough to open up the opportunities for additional services within your base? And beyond that, is it sufficient to spur your clients into providing referrals to your business?

For some clients, yes, this may actually be enough. But as a practice, it makes sense to extend beyond “good enough” as an operational status quo – even making value-recognition a key component of your mission and day-to-day performance overview.

Keep in mind, with technology advancing as it is, with highly-qualified (and very tech-savvy) graduates entering the finance profession, and with business models growing in complexity and variety, “good enough” today won’t likely be competitive in the near future.

Defining client value is just one piece of the puzzle that we explore more in-depth in our Value-Added Practice e-book. Submit your email below to read the complete ebook.

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