Jennie Moore runs her bookkeeping practice, Moore Details, with the kind of passion for connection and support you might expect from your favourite barista, or a trained councilor. Her commitment to customer service is paired with her fangirl-esque excitement about the emerging accounting technology she uses to help her clients reach new heights.
“You know, some girls like purses and shoes––I like them too––but I love fintech!” she tells us from her car-cum-office-on-wheels. Jennie’s approach to creating a great tech stack is surprisingly human, which is why we chose her as the second guest for chats with chata, our ongoing “unwebinar” series.
We’re grateful to have Jennie in our corner because she pulls no punches when she talks about an industry-wide need to improve client experiences and build meaningful, sustainable relationships with the businesses accounting professionals serve in their practice.
Listening to our clients is not something we’re taught.
For Jennie, the apps she chooses to implement with her clients are an extension of her desire to create and maintain great customer service. “I learned how to give great customer service when I was waitressing, you learn those skills real quick in that industry,” she says. “Sadly, in the [accounting] educational setting, there wasn’t any drive for customer success or customer experience. Listening to our clients is not something we’re taught.”
When Jennie wanted to expand her bookkeeping practice, she saw an opportunity to leverage the skills she learned waiting tables to grow her business and make more money. She found that her clients were looking for something they weren’t getting from other bookkeepers: an outstanding customer experience.
Jennie realized that being compliant with payroll or delivering P&L statements wasn’t what kept her clients engaged in her services, it was the way she prioritized listening to and meeting their individual needs.
“We started taking on fewer clients, high-value clients and focused on how the client feels and seeing if they are really getting everything they need,” she says.
As accounting professionals, we need to be able to show interest in what the customer needs.
Putting clients first and focusing on communication is how Jennie defines her approach to advisory. “A lot of [financial professionals] are looking to provide those advisory-level processes without thinking: ‘Do I have a core customer experience mindset?’ You really have to show that you care [about your client] before you throw in another app and say: ‘Here’s what we’re going to do.’” She laughs, “Entrepreneurs don’t like bossiness. They are a boss.”
“You can’t build trust, you can’t build a relationship, you can’t build a future [of] sustainability and growth without first providing an excellent customer experience,” she continues. “It’s [adopting] a coaching scope. It’s different than what someone would expect a bookkeeper to do.”
Making the move towards a customer-centric model didn’t happen overnight.
Jennie believes that customer experience is an ongoing journey that starts with “dating” potential clients: taking the time to see if their needs are best met by her services and, likewise, whether the client is a good fit for her and her team.
“As accounting professionals, we need to be able to show interest in what the customer needs. But we also have to be accountable to ourselves. If you have a client that doesn’t want that type of [advisory-based] relationship or that level of customer experience, or maybe they don’t value your service for whatever reason, it’s just not a good fit either.”
Are you willing to make change? Is the status quo okay with you?
While a drive to help customers feel great and find success comes from the heart, Jennie also has a couple of actionable steps financial professionals can take towards implementing those customer-first processes:
“First, you need to look at yourself and ask: are you willing to make change? Is the status quo okay with you? Is it okay with your team members?” she suggests. “You are going to be the driving force for the clients and your team. You really need to champion this and you need to own it. And if you’re going to make a decision to embrace fintech or focus on high-value clients––whatever the case is––you just really need to own that.”
“Look at one client who really stands out and take their attributes, their values, and the technology [that’s working in that situation]. You can even take something from every client you have and build an ideal client. Then start looking for them,” Jennie recommends. Figure out what types of businesses you like working with: Non-profits? Hospitality and retail? Arts and entertainment? Don’t forget to factor in any personal details that impact your ability to communicate and build a meaningful rapport.
Jennie says that it’s important to remember that “You can’t help everyone!” because narrowing down what kind of individual fits best with your services up front means better client retention in the long run. The more compatible you are with your client, the smoother your relationship will be as time goes on and challenges arise.
Jennie’s final words of wisdom:
Jennie also reminded us that it’s not about reinventing the wheel. “It’s the good old-fashioned stuff folks! Everyone’s always focused on a faster result but people are really looking for [connection]. When you’re coaching them, make sure you’re giving them that.”
Bask in the warm glow of Jennie’s innovative and thoughtful presence on Twitter @mooredetails
chats with chata is an ongoing “unwebinar” series featuring financial professionals and business owners who are disrupting the status quo in the accounting or entrepreneurial landscape and adapting to a new era of data-centered growth strategy.