CPA Practice Advisor - 15

MARKETING YOUR FIRM

YOUR BEDSIDE MANNER:

3 STEPS TO IMPROVE CLIENT TRUST
By Angie Grissom

WE HAVE ALL been to a doctor who had an impeccable bedside manner and we

BUILD QUALITY INTO
EVERY CLIENT
TOUCHPOINT

tend to remember it for a while. Bedside manner is the way a doctor interacts and
communicates with us, their patient, and it is most memorable when we have an
ailment that is either extremely concerning, painful, embarrassing or all the above.
Typically, a physician with a good bedside manner is a strong communicator, while one without a
good bedside manner may offend or may be overly
abrupt with their patients. When we are fearful, in
pain or uncomfortable, those medical personnel who
readily put us at ease and make us feel that we have
come to the right place are those that we depend on
time and time again. They are those advisors who
we come back to - even if they are more expensive
than others in the field.
In the world of professional services, we don't
typically talk about bedside manner as it relates
to how we communicate and serve our clients.
We reserve it for the medical world. I believe that
accountants and advisors have a great opportunity
to focus on improving their bedside manner for the
good of the profession as well as for the good of
the companies and individuals they serve. Health
is a very personal thing and so is money. People
take money seriously, get excited about it, nervous
about the lack of it and sometimes experience great
anxiety and pain when sorting out their financial
position and forecasts. So, who is in a better place
than you, the trustworthy accountant and most
trusted business advisor, to show great empathy,
listen well and ask questions to help put your
patient, i.e. client, at ease?

ASK THOUGHTFULLY,
LISTEN CAREFULLY,
RESPOND
REASSURINGLY
A good bedside manner for a doctor might include
showing empathy, being open to communication,
involving the patient in health decisions, and helping
the patient feel more comfortable. A poor bedside
manner can appear as hurried, a failure to listen
to a patient, abruptness, a dismissal of a patient's
fears, and arrogance. I would argue that the same
goes for accountants and other professional service
providers.

In the medical profession, it appears that concern about bedside manner has increased in recent
years. Some medical schools offer specific courses
in practicing an empathetic approach to patients. In
some hospitals, doctors are tested on their bedside
manner with mock patients who are meant to test
their tolerance. These courses and tests hope to
improve the bedside manner of doctors who are not
good communicators and who have little apparent
sympathy for patients.

DON'T LET EMPATHY
SUFFER IN THE QUEST
FOR EFFICIENCY
While you may have perfected your communication
and treatment of your clients, how well have you
passed down these standards to others in your firm?
With such a strong focus on meeting budgets and
realization, many firms find that partners and
managers feel hurried and stressed and skip the
connecting and listening phase when dealing with
clients in order to be efficient. What happens is that
the relationship suffers, true needs and wants go
undiscovered, and the relationship does not flourish
the way it could. The full potential is lost due to the
unintended lack of focusing on the actual client or
person instead of the work itself.
A similar issue affects the modern physician.
Doctors now see far more patients per day than
ever in the past. What happens is that some doctors
are abrupt and appear rude because they do not
have time to listen like they have in previous years.
This is a monumental problem because crucial
information can be missed when a patient is not
given enough time. Studies show that doctors who
listen to their patients thoroughly before diagnosing
are more likely to order the proper tests and make
a correct diagnosis than those who are hurried and
not listening well and jump to immediate conclusions based on their past experiences.

Bedside manner can affect the quality of care a
patient receives in a doctor's office or hospital just
as it can affect the quality of advice and work in your
office or your client's office. Now may be a good time
to look at the quality of the bedside manner both
you and your staff are offering to your clients. This
includes how phones are answered, how material
is gathered, and the time that is spent with clients
getting to know their business and the people in
it. This also very much includes the way that you
communicate solutions and actions steps.
Think about a time that you really helped a
client and you could see it in their eyes that you
made a difference in their life and business. Strive
to have more of those moments. You don't have to
cure a disease to have these. Improve your bedside
manner and use your gifts of financial literacy
and accounting and have more moments like this.
Encourage your staff to focus on the people, the
pain, the problem so that you can do what you do
best and have a long-term impact on the financial
health of your clients and their businesses. They
will remember it.

NEXT STEPS
If you are looking to improve your firm's capabilities
and consistency in providing the highest-quality
client experience, Rainmaker's Five Star Client
Service Program can help build a client-centric
culture across all levels and areas of expertise in
your firm. ■
Angie Grissom serves as President of The Rainmaker
Companies. She advanced from her previous position as
Director of Consulting, which she held for over ten years.
Her role in the firm involves high-level strategy, thought
leadership, consulting, and program and curriculum
development. She transforms the lives of clients through
innovation, goal setting, coaching, training, and accountability development.

NOVEMBER 2019 ■

This article first appeared at the
CPAConsultantsAlliance blog.
http://cpaconsultantsalliance.com/blog/

www.CPAPracticeAdvisor.com

15


http://www.cpaconsultantsalliance.com/blog/ http://www.CPAPracticeAdvisor.com

CPA Practice Advisor

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CPA Practice Advisor

From the Editor: The Land of the Free
How to Get Started with Client Accounting Services
Crafting a Strategic CAS Plan
From the Trenches: Do Your Best Tax
2019 Product Review: Sales & Use Tax Systems
Marketing Your Firm: Marketing to the Home Care Nursing Industry
Marketing Your Firm: Your Bedside Manner: 3 Steps to Improve Client Trust
2019 Product Review: Hosting Service Providers
A Year in the Life of a Payroll Accountant: The Pros & Cons of Temp vs. Seasonal Workers
A Year in the Life of a Payroll Accountant: 6 Retirement Tips for Generation X
The ProAdvisor Spotlight: Newest Features in QuickBooks Online Advanced Speed Workflow
Guest Column: 7 Productivity Hacks for the Strategic CFO
The Staffing & HR Advisor: You May Be Overlooking Top Performers When Hiring
The Millennial Advisor: The Problem with Price
The Leadership Advisor: The Change We Can Control
AICPA News
Bridging the Gap: 3 Small Steps Toward Transformation
Special Feature: The Unseen Talent Pool
CPA Practice Advisor - 1
CPA Practice Advisor - 2
CPA Practice Advisor - 3
CPA Practice Advisor - From the Editor: The Land of the Free
CPA Practice Advisor - How to Get Started with Client Accounting Services
CPA Practice Advisor - Crafting a Strategic CAS Plan
CPA Practice Advisor - 7
CPA Practice Advisor - From the Trenches: Do Your Best Tax
CPA Practice Advisor - 9
CPA Practice Advisor - 2019 Product Review: Sales & Use Tax Systems
CPA Practice Advisor - 11
CPA Practice Advisor - 12
CPA Practice Advisor - 13
CPA Practice Advisor - Marketing Your Firm: Marketing to the Home Care Nursing Industry
CPA Practice Advisor - Marketing Your Firm: Your Bedside Manner: 3 Steps to Improve Client Trust
CPA Practice Advisor - 2019 Product Review: Hosting Service Providers
CPA Practice Advisor - 17
CPA Practice Advisor - A Year in the Life of a Payroll Accountant: The Pros & Cons of Temp vs. Seasonal Workers
CPA Practice Advisor - A Year in the Life of a Payroll Accountant: 6 Retirement Tips for Generation X
CPA Practice Advisor - The ProAdvisor Spotlight: Newest Features in QuickBooks Online Advanced Speed Workflow
CPA Practice Advisor - Guest Column: 7 Productivity Hacks for the Strategic CFO
CPA Practice Advisor - The Staffing & HR Advisor: You May Be Overlooking Top Performers When Hiring
CPA Practice Advisor - The Millennial Advisor: The Problem with Price
CPA Practice Advisor - The Leadership Advisor: The Change We Can Control
CPA Practice Advisor - AICPA News
CPA Practice Advisor - Bridging the Gap: 3 Small Steps Toward Transformation
CPA Practice Advisor - Special Feature: The Unseen Talent Pool
CPA Practice Advisor - 28
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