Case Study: Kreston Reeves
Case Study Kreston Reeves
Kreston Reeves is one of the largest accountancy and financial advisory firms in the South East of England. By building strong relationships with clients through professional, expert advice and personal, crystal clear communication, it guides its clients to a brighter future.
The need to optimise processes following a merger
In 2016, the company merged with another long-established accountancy firm, Spofforths. The two businesses had different models for dealing with inbound enquiries. Kreston Reeves calls were directed via a switchboard team in its Chatham office, while Spofforths dealt with calls in each of the local offices.
To minimise disruption during the merger, the leadership team took the decision to run the two systems in parallel initially. This ensured the knowledge of the experienced staff was best leveraged and that existing clients experienced a seamless experience during the transition.
Nevertheless, over the long-term it became clear that a unified approach across the business would be preferable. With the introduction of a new telephone system, Kreston Reeves took the opportunity to centralise all inbound call handling. With a change of this kind, the company wanted to ensure that clients continued to receive the consistent, high-quality communication they expect.
Working with a trusted partner to uncover service insights
Together with Andrew Pincott, Director of Business Development and Marketing at Kreston Reeves, Jennifer Williamson decided to gather quantitative and qualitative information about the quality and consistency of call handling.
Quantitative data could be gathered from the telephony system. The company reached out to a number of research consultancies about using a mystery shopper approach to add qualitative insights.
Andrew Pincott explains, “We selected Nisus because we felt confident that they would do a great job. They shared our personal approach and they demonstrated that they were willing to be flexible about how we approached the project.”
Kreston Reeves worked with the Nisus team to develop two mystery shopper personas, each with a realistic new business enquiry scenario. This would enable two different sets of qualitative performance insights to be gathered. First, on the handling of calls at the switchboard. Second, on the handing, conversion and follow up of new business enquiries.
Taking a flexible approach to deliver valuable insights
Nisus offers specialist support for professional services firms. This experience was essential since the mystery shopper scenarios dealt with some complex tax issues and each enquiry needed to be believable.
“Very simple queries tend to be addressed by Internet searches, but the merits of these particular scenarios would depend on the individual circumstances. They are complex issues that depend on many factors, which is why people require the expertise of a firm like ours,” explains Andrew Pincott.
For this reason, inbound enquiries are dealt with by professionals in the firm, rather than a dedicated sales team. This is a benefit to customers because they have immediate access to professional advice. However, the survey highlighted a concern.
Andrew Pincott advises, “If we placed a call with somebody, what then happened as a result? Nisus was very good at giving specific anecdotes. They were very good at indicating that some of these calls that were self-evidently opportunities to quote for new business were not perceived as such by the recipients. It gave us an insight of people’s telephone performance and told us that we need to be more alert and perky to sales opportunities.”
Taking action to improve performance
Nisus presented the findings from the mystery shopper project to Kreston Reeves, along with a detailed report. Kreston Reeves used these insights to drive a number of improvements.
The company mapped out a list of “first responders” for each key service, region and sector. A coaching programme to optimise telephone behaviour and help staff to improve how they balanced the need to answer calls with the complex and detailed work they needed to complete was implemented.
Furthermore, the company reviewed the telephony software licences for call routing to give staff the capability to place calls quickly and a proper system for call holding. This was essential because the survey had highlighted a disparity between how calls were handled normally and during busy times. Because tax and accounting issues can be quite seasonal, during busy periods callers were being directed to a pool of phones rather than the main reception number, creating an inconsistent experience for callers.
Positive impact for the business and for customers
The improvements have ensured greater consistency of experience for callers. Furthermore, the company has greater confidence that it is converting new business enquiries. Twelve months on, Kreston Reeves is now considering a follow-up mystery shopper survey with Nisus to assess the qualitative impact of the changes made as a result of the initial survey.