Client Experience for the Future
Although none of us know the future, I believe we now have the opportunity to create it.
Feb. 05, 2021
From the February 2021 Issue.
Lately, I have had plenty of time to think, plan, and prepare for new growth. The past year has provided a unique opportunity to study, learn, and discover new products, concepts, and ways to serve others better. I cannot think of a time I have learned more except for my best college year. Besides the intense client service provided during the pandemic, delivering hundreds of CPE courses virtually, and designing new products, I was able to spend more time reviewing products and providing guidance than I had in 20 years.
When Editor Gail Perry asked if I would consider producing product summaries and reviews in a podcast format with associate Brian Tankersley, I was thrilled to share my past, current, and future experience with you. You will see separately in the publication coverage about this new venture. I hope you will follow along and benefit from the preparation, insight, and humor of our discussions.
Without exception, client service has been my mission for a long time. In the 1980s, I developed the personal mission statement: “To help as many people as possible to use technology in a way that benefits them most.” This mission has served me well. The attitudes of “what goes around, comes around” and a philosophy of abundance have supported my positive view of life. At the same time, growing the pie results in a bigger pie with enough for all. To me, a bigger pie has meant it is easy to help people, although I must quietly smile when they grab more for themselves without paying it forward. Those of you who know me already understand that I am not a fan of power or greed, and I am a fan of always doing the right thing. Self-interest is too inward-looking, whereas helping others has provided great rewards. As we continue the third decade of the 21st century of the third millennium, you must be asking “why this philosophy” in a technical column.
Although none of us know the future, I believe we now have the opportunity to create it, as I noted in my November 2020 column. While 2020 provided an intense period of retrospect and learning for me, I am now ready to share what I have learned and how you can use the knowledge to help yourself and to help your clients. I realized that I enjoy attending conferences to meet new people, renew and maintain old relationships, and learn new ideas that I can apply in everyday life. That’s why I like shows like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), AICPA Engage, Scaling New Heights, software publisher conferences (too many to name!), or producing our K2 conferences throughout the U.S. and Canada. Unfortunately, it may be a little while longer before face to face meetings become routine again.
Navigate a New World
This year is the 500th anniversary of Magellan’s circumnavigation journey. We need to navigate the new world by leveraging collaboration and creating an outstanding client experience. I only recently recognized that all the technology I have been developing or assisting developers create uses technology to do things most easily and effectively. It is time for your own discovery journey in both columns and podcasts this year and beyond.
We plan to initially cover products in the following categories:
- 1099, W2, & Misc.
- Accounting Software for CPA Firms
- Audit Products
- Backup Solutions
- Document Management Solutions
- Estate & Financial Planning
- Fixed Assets
- Payroll Products
- Practice Management Products
- Productivity Software
- Tax Document Automation
- Tax News Products
- Tax Planning
- Tax Research Products
- Tax Software Products
- Time and Billing Products
- Write-Up Solutions
We will use a framework that includes all of these and more.
- Advisory First – Planning, Core, Tertiary (Concierge/Referral) Services
- CAS – Repeatable deliverables
- Compliance – So we do not forget the fundamentals and where we came from
- Innovation – Emerging Technologies, new releases, and breakthroughs
- Fundamentals – so we can do things the easiest and best way
- Philosophy – so we are choosing the right things
And What Are the Rules? Experience Matters!
The main rules are that we must always provide an outstanding client experience, an interesting and motivational team member experience, and an optimal partner experience, including time and profit. We will look at how to use technology to support niches and vertical markets. And like the best of the tour guides, we will show you the best spots to see, enjoying the greatest of smorgasbords, while keeping you out of danger. Throughout the process, you will realize that we will be striving to “keep it simple.” But we cannot set out and do this alone. Innovating and learning is a collaborative effort. Please ask for guidance, help, and assistance. While our role is as a guide and Sherpa, we want you to enjoy the experience of continuous learning and insights that you did not think were possible. So now, it is time to create the future together!
And the Future Is?
While CES typically involves an annual trek to Las Vegas to hang out with 100,000+ of our best friends and new acquaintances, this year’s version was virtual. Interesting innovations included:
- Fujitsu Scanners – The Fujitsu fi-800R scanner is joined by two new ScanSnap models – the iX1600 and iX1400
- The world’s most transparent and 5G ready antenna for next gen smartphones and automotive applications
- A full color, holographic transparent display for automotive and wearable applications
- A metal-mesh (NanoWeb – product line) active defogging application on diving masks
- A new electric vehicle platform for vehicles of all kinds from GM shows us that we shouldn’t write off Detroit as electric vehicles become more mainstream
- Caterpillar shows us that the car companies don’t have anything on them when it comes to operating autonomously
ColdSnap – Fresh frozen treats from a rapid freezing appliance, which produces single servings of frozen confections on demand and with no mess. The company goal was to goal to create a Nespresso-style machine that generates ice cream on demand without requiring cleanup.
GoSun Solar products – including a solar French Press (Brew), water filtration system (Flow), solar stoves (Fusion, Sport, and Go) and more
As a reminder, many of these products never make it to market, but they are a foreshadowing of the things to come.
See inside February 2021
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