We all know that the way accountants work is changing…
We have to be much more proactive in offering additional services that clients NEED (but we aren’t giving them), and also build much stronger personal relationships with clients to retain them for the long-term.
One of the ways we can do this is by using ‘The CSM Model’.
The Client Service Manager (CSM) model seeks to improve the relationship between your practice and your clients by having dedicated managers (who aren’t the partners) for all of your clients.
It can help your practice to identify new opportunities, as well as better catering to the needs of your existing client base.
And when you better identify these needs and desires, you will see a huge increase in client engagement and client retention.
Additional benefits of the CSM model include:
- Freeing up partners/practice owners time to focus on serving A+ clients and growing the practice
- An increase in practice revenue and profits as more services are sold to clients
- Safeguarding clients and reducing threat from competition
- An increase in word-of-mouth referrals
So how does it work?
Before we look at exactly how the CSM model works, let’s look at how accountancy practices are typically structured…
In a typical accountancy practice:
- Partners are responsible for building and maintaining client relationships
- Partners/senior team are responsible for delivering the work to clients (and in more cases than not, doing the work as well!)
- Partners are responsible for selling additional services that the practice offers (which often isn’t much…)
Now for your A+ clients, this is perfectly fine.
But for your A, B and C clients, this is an inefficient and expensive use of partners time, doing something which can be easily delegated to somebody else.
Which is where the CSM model comes into play…
In an accountancy practice that utilises the CSM model:
- Partners are responsible for their A+ clients (this includes delivering work, and selling additional services)
- CSMs are responsible for building and maintaining all other client relationships
- CSMs are responsible for delivering work to all other clients
- CSMs are responsible for selling additional services to all other clients
Ultimately, this means that CSMs must be:
- Fully qualified (so that they can deliver work at a high level)
- Have an extremely outgoing personality (so that they can build good relationships)
- Be capable of quoting and selling effectively (perhaps leveraging tools and software to aid them)
So how do they fit in with the rest of your practice?
As you can see from the model above:
- The CSM deals with the client directly to deliver work, sell additional services and build relationships. If a client has a query, they will go first to their CSM.
- The CSM then deals with the back-office team in terms of reviewing any completed work before delivering it to the client.
- The back-office team are also responsible for contacting the client directly if they need any additional info to help them complete their job.
And when you use a model like this, it is completely scalable as it doesn’t involve any of the partners or practice owners time!
If you want your practice to thrive in the long term, where you are serving clients at the highest level and where you as the partner are no longer ‘trapped’ working IN the practice, then using the CSM model (or something similar) might be the solution you’re looking for…