Client Service Cycle Training at Grant Thornton

The Client Service Cycle (CSC) is a well-defined, repeatable, six-step process for developing relationships and delivering value.

Grant Thornton LLP describes “distinctive client service” as its calling card. Yet with 4,200 accounting professionals in six service lines supporting diverse industries, delivering consistent client service was challenging.

In response, Grant Thornton created the Client Service Cycle (CSC), a well-defined, repeatable, six-step process for developing relationships and delivering value.

Here is how the firm put this program together, including the results it generated:

  • Grant Thornton first developed learning goals by service line and role, and then created a company-wide learning series that brought client-facing staff on board. Now, a CSC portal offers learning resources including videos, Webcasts, and e-learning. All key learning programs include CSC modules, often addressing challenges identified by participant surveys.
  • Recent CSC module ratings shine:

Senior Manager Development Program: 6.49 out of 7

New Manager Development Program: 6.2 out of 7

Advanced Manager Program: 6.7 out of 7 for ROI; the company anticipates being 81 percent more effective at delivering distinctive client service.

  • And the impact shows. The annual “Service Quality Measurement” (SQM) client survey determines satisfaction scores. On the 10-point SQM Client Satisfaction Index, Grant Thornton not only surpassed its company-wide goal of 8.5 minimum—a high-performing benchmark—but results increased for six straight years:

FY’07=8.54

FY’08=8.63

FY’09=8.75

FY’10=8.86

  • Today, 72 percent of clients rate Grant Thornton’s service 8.5-plus, up from 62 percent three years ago.
  • Understanding that excellent service begets client satisfaction, which begets loyalty, the firm sees revenue implications of effective training. Loyal clients are its best advocates, and yield greater fee growth and greater realization than firm averages. Analyzing client loyalty impact on FY’10 financial results:

After 45 percent growth in FY’09, loyal clients grew again, modestly.

“Raving Fans” achieved 7.8 percent higher net fee growth and 6.9 percent higher realization than all clients on average.

  • The CSC and SQM are so clearly best practices that last year they were adapted for use with internal clients, to overwhelmingly positive feedback. The firm met or exceeded nearly all FY’10 goals:

Overall: 8.6, beating the 8.0 goal by 150 percent.

By service line: All but one exceeded .4 increase over the goal.

HAVE INPUT OR TIPS on this topic? If so, send them our way in an e-mail to lorri@trainingmag.com with the subject line “Grant Thornton,” and we’ll try to include your advice in an upcoming edition of the Training Top 125 Best Practices/Executive Exchange e-newsletter.

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