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What the pandemic taught us about client service

Updated: May 7, 2022

We had a strange couple of years through COVID. Our whole profession experienced a 'kick' in to more remote working practices which arguably moved things forward by 5 years or even a decade. We all jumped on MS Teams and Zoom and found ourselves 'getting over' the once camera shy culture through pure necessity. As someone who previously hated being on camera, it is now normalised and I know it is the same for many.

That doesn't mean though that the remote interactions have completely replaced physical ones and we have all welcomed the opportunity to start seeing each other again, even if some of us have removed handshakes from our experience.

As a professional adviser, and particularly as an accountant, I found during the pandemic that a lot of meetings with clients were better remote and I will hold on to those better meetings going forward. For example, when you have that detailed accounts meeting going through the numbers, line by line sometimes, it has been far more efficient to simply share my screen with clients and actually go through detail that would otherwise have been inaccessible.

Another great example of remote superiority is in assisting with cloud softwares like Xero, again with screen sharing capability which allows for me to actually walk through a process rather than explaining it on the phone, or physically visiting.


That being said though, there is no substitute for actually seeing someone face to face and I don't think we can do our job properly without actually meeting our clients, reading facial expressions clearly, reading non verbal cues and just generally getting to know a person through physical meeting. I believe that there will always be a physical element to client service where the relationship is a complex one, like it is with a farmer.

We can absolutely service a wide array of businesses, particularly startups and small business, with a fully online service, and this will become very commonplace if it isn't already, and even some complex setups may favour a fully remote relationship, but generally complex business and family setups will prefer and maybe even require a physical presence.

The lesson

I believe that we were forced in to an experiment and the outcome is not yet known. I believe that the changes made at professional firms will give rise to innovative and more efficient relationships between professional and client. It remains to be seen who will come up with the perfect ratio.

What do you think? What has your experience been like as a client and how would you like to see it evolve? Do you think physical meetings are necessary or would you be happy in a totally virtual world?

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