June 12, 2019

Are We Serving up an Eggcellent Experience?

Recently, CeCe and our daughter Haley traveled to Seattle with me for the AICPA Women’s Initiative Executive Committee meeting. We went a couple of days early so we could hike and enjoy some of the beautiful surrounding mountains and lakes.

Our first morning, we were headed out to Tiger Mountain Trailhead for a hike. We got a little later start than I had planned (I think we were closer to CeCe’s plan), so Haley began to Google some spots for a quick brunch. We came across a place right on our way called Eggs & Us where we stopped and had an amazing meal with great service. We loved it. But we did not realize how special it was until the next morning.

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Topics: Client Service

May 15, 2019

What’s in Your Cup?

My feet hit the floor in a rush. With the daylight peeking under our bedroom curtains I knew I had overslept. Yikes! It’s 6:30 and I have a video conference call at 7:00 a.m.! Although I might set the alarm, I always wake up before it goes off. I never oversleep, but obviously, I had today and the timing couldn’t have been worse. I do a quick change and turn on CeCe’s Keurig to warm up while I fire up my computer.

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Topics: Anticipatory, Client Service

April 10, 2019

Golf Again? Please No!

In golf, your ability to play the “short game” is the quickest way to lower your score. You cannot shoot low scores in golf if you can’t chip and putt. Obviously, the pros spend hours refining this aspect of the game. And guess what skills go the quickest if you don’t play regularly? For me at least, it’s chipping and putting. This has never been more evident to me than last month ─ my once a year golf outing at Sage Valley. This year, I shot the worst score of my golfing career (108). That fantastic little score included triple bogeys on four holes. It was ugly, really ugly.

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Topics: People Development, Life-Long Learning, Anticipatory, Client Service, Leadership

January 09, 2019

Pulling Back the Curtain on Client Experience

So far in this blog series, we pulled the curtain back on innovation, growth strategies, alignment and change management for large firms. We are now focusing on pulling back the curtain on strategic trends that are prevalent for many firms but not as frequently central to their strategic plan. All of these trends and strategies come directly from interacting with over 20 CEOs and COOs of Top 100 CPA firms. For some firms and maybe for yours, these next trends could be part of your plan to be distinctive and relevant. 

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Topics: Customer Experience, Anticipatory, Client Service

October 31, 2018

My Ears Are Hurting

Life lessons learned at the airport have become almost commonplace for me and last week’s trip was no exception. As I sat in seat 19C, I opened my Kindle to finish the latest book in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. I was barely halfway down the first page when I felt it. Someone was staring at me, and it was the lady sitting right next to me in the window seat. “Oh no,” I thought. “I have a talker.” A situation that is a big threat to an introvert like myself.

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Topics: Listening, Anticipatory, Client Service

October 17, 2018

Do We Stink?

As CeCe (my wife, Cathy) and I were checking our luggage curbside at the airport, she commented that someone had on too much perfume. In complete transparency, we are both very sensitive to strong fragrances.

I really didn’t think much about her comment as I had not noticed a strong fragrance. As we were getting ready to board our flight (boarding last, of course), we were the last two passengers walking down the jetway. About halfway down, CeCe said, “that person with the fragrance is on this flight. Gosh, I hope they are not sitting close to us!” I giggled but still had not noticed a strong fragrance. 

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Topics: Client Service

October 10, 2018

The Parable of the Crappie Jigs

We had two team members: Adam, who had been with us three years, hard worker, dependable and always completed his assigned tasks. The other, Tom, was with us for six months — extremely innovative, demonstrated the ability to learn fast and seemed to always be exceeding expectations. Both were being considered for promotion to supervisor and Adam was even requesting the promotion.

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Topics: Anticipatory, Client Service, Forward Thinking, Leadership

September 19, 2018

Probing Questions Are Better Than Quick Advice

Why are we so quick to be advisory? Maybe because that’s how we built success in the past or that our personal nature is to be problem solvers. But often, we are advising on things that are really symptoms and might not be the core problem or the bigger challenge. 

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Topics: Client Service, Questions

July 25, 2018

The Problem With Making Assumptions in Client Service

As I have shared previously, my brother, Mike, has a unique ability to bring humor to moments that simply bring you to tears laughing. One Sunday after church, we were having a family luncheon with my parents, Pop Joe and Mom, Mike, his wife Joy, my sister Mitzi, her husband Tim, and my wife CeCe at a local restaurant in Batesville, Mississippi. It was a hot summer day and we were enjoying a southern favorite—ice cold tea—as we waited. As you might guess, Sunday after church in a small town with few restaurant choices makes for a crowded and SLOW dining experience. However, we were having a great time visiting and catching up on family current events and stories while we waited.

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Topics: Communication, Collaboration, Client Service

July 11, 2018

Storytelling Works Better Than Viagra

My brother, Mike, is a family practice physician and has the well-earned reputation of being an excellent humorous storyteller.  He can make the most normal human moments comical to the point that everyone within earshot will be laughing. 

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Topics: Communication, Client Service, storytelling, Insight

February 28, 2018

Legacy Pull of Relationships Even Affects My Hair

For some reason, hair has been a central theme for me lately. Maybe because I’m quickly losing mine. I have a lot more forehead today than five years ago. Thank goodness I still have the perfect face for radio! 

Most of us are extremely picky about who cuts our hair. I certainly am. I have a “cowlick” and when it’s cut too short, it sticks up everywhere. For most of us, changing hair stylists is like changing your tax advisor, wealth advisor or auditor—it only happens when we feel like we must make a move. 

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Topics: Relationships, Anticipatory, Client Service

November 08, 2017

Client Service Is Dated

I admit that I have been known to keep a shirt, coat, pants or tie that according to CeCe look “dated.” Our conversation usually goes something like this:

CeCe: You can’t wear that, it’s completely out of style!

Me: Well you liked it just fine when we bought it, it’s in great shape and it’s comfortable.

CeCe: I don’t care, you are not wearing that!

And that’s usually the end of our discussion. I then proceed to change clothes because, you know, I really wanted to wear something else anyway. 

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Topics: Client Service, Forward Thinking

November 01, 2017

Inward Mindset Dominating Client Experiences

Over the last 50 years, CPAs have been riding a wave of success, high trust and flowing demand that is frankly quite impressive by any measurement. This high level of relevance and success has been the result of excellent service, extreme competence, unparalleled work ethic and the integrity of a profession that has put the public interest first.

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Topics: Client Service