Moments of Truth

“Life is full of moments; this is one of them” is a quote from the fictitious agent, Dicky Fox, in the movie, “Jerry Maguire”.  In short, Dicky understood the importance of relationships and memorable connections in business.  His success singularly depended on it.  In the Rainmaker Academy vernacular, such defining moments are referred to as “Moments of Truth”. For successful CPAs who embrace Dicky’s fanaticism for exceptional, legendary and personal client service, identifying “Moments of Truth” is essential to high performance.

For CPAs a Moment of Truth is simply an event or circumstance where an accountant stands and delivers great service.  It represents an occasion for an accountant to under-promise and over-deliver.  As clients become more demanding, they minimally expect technical proficiency and accuracy.  Receiving high level technical skills is now a given.  The best clients require exceptional, memorable and personal client service.  Clients want to say, “My accountant gets me!”  To earn and retain the best clients (and who really wants to be stuck with bad clients?), progressive accountants must prepare to dazzle clients with great service, then exceed that expectation! 

For example, a CPA with a real estate niche provides accounting services to a specific client and completes a quarterly report that shows his operation’s financial progress.  The CPA completes the report three days ahead of the scheduled deadline and arranges to meet the client for lunch the following day to hand deliver the report early and explain key findings.  Such attention to personal connection and early delivery validates the client’s wisdom in selecting this accountant.  However, when the two meet, the CPA has brought along a banking colleague that specializes in funding the type of project that the developer aspires to launch.  This is a Moment of Truth.  A client’s opportunity to get clarity on his business’ financial status transformed into a connection pointing toward a new funding opportunity. In this Moment of Truth, the CPA proved how deeply he cared for his client.  He knew his client’s problem and brought a solution for it.

A Moment of Truth is when your activity and brand meet. A brand is what a client perceives.  A brand is not something you say, it is something you do.  If the client sees his CPA firm delivering timely on commitments, then the firm’s brand is delivering timely on commitments!  A brand separates one firm from the competition.  A Moment of Truth is not based on your brand having clever text, distributing brochures highlighting this year’s hot color, or contracting a celebrity endorsement. A Moment of Truth occurs when the firm’s expertise is clearly communicated to the client and trust is established that subsequent problems will be consistently resolved with the same proficiency.

Effective CPAs must look for these moments, prepare for these moments, and exceed the client’s expectations as a result of these moments.  Then, repeat each step in the next moment.  But, why would accountants want to invest the time preparing for random Moments of Truth when meeting deadlines on time and performing work accurately is what accountants do?  Well, unfortunately performing work is not for the accountant’s benefit.  Work is performed for the client’s benefit!  And if you believe that the client’s perspective will prevail (it will), then accountants need to be ready to meet and exceed clients’ expectations through Moments of Truth.

The subsequent rewards are higher fees from clients who truly value their exceptional accountant, referrals for additional clients similar to current clients who enjoy being dazzled and better retention among clients that recognize the value of service-focused accountants.  These goodies and more are available to the firm that delivers memorable service one moment at a time.  The resultant benefits of high margin, loyal and fully engaged clients last much longer than just one moment.

Glenn Hunter
Director of Member Development, APA/ Enterprise Worldwide

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