Honkamp Krueger partner Jon Thoms, Marketing Manager Nicole Gantz and Kyle Kunz, partner in charge of the firm’s Hiawatha office.

 

Keeping customers satisfied is never left to chance at Honkamp Krueger, this year’s top accounting firm.

“It is very intentional and we address it every single day,” said Kyle Kunz, partner in charge of the Hiawatha office for the nation’s 66th largest accounting firm.

At the core of Honkamp Krueger’s approach is a customer service program with 11 different service standards. Each standard comes with its own action steps and accountability measures.

A different customer service standard is highlighted internally each month in communications with Honkamp Krueger’s 400 employees, and a different action step is emphasized each day. In July, the standard emphasized is, “Our People,” and daily themes include “respect each other” and “working together as a team.”

Annual employee evaluations include adherence to the service standards as one factor, Mr. Kunz said.

Honkamp Krueger meets with clients regularly to ask them what is going right and what can be improved in the relationship. Called Trusted Adviser Meetings, they take place at least once a year and help ensure that the client service team understands whether the client’s expectations are being understood and exceeded.

Another round of client meetings, called Client Satisfaction Interviews, are held without involving the Honkamp Krueger team assigned to that client, Mr. Kunz said. In these meetings, the firm’s marketing director and other personnel try to get an objective assessment of the current client relationship, Mr. Kunz said. They cover issues such as whether the team assigned to the client is friendly, whether they have earned the client’s full trust, and whether the client would refer Honkamp Krueger to other businesses.

Honkamp Krueger offers 42 professional services extending well beyond the borders of accounting, covering the vast majority of a business’s financial needs, from starting up all the way to the owner’s retirement and the sale of a business.

“Our tagline is ‘First-class service: every customer, every time,’” Mr. Kunz said, “and every one of our 402 staff are required to uphold that, both those who work directly with clients and our internal-facing departments such as IT and HR.”

Even if the customers seem satisfied, Honkamp Krueger is always refining its customer service approaches. A recent review of its processes helped to simplify the 11 standards, and placed the same accountability on the management team as on all other employees.

Beyond providing excellent customer service, Dubuque-based Honkamp Krueger is always looking for ways to show support for its customers. One example is a mobile Client Patronage App for iOS and Android platforms that supports a program to reward employees for making purchases at clients’ businesses.

In 18 months, the app tracked 16,500 purchase receipts that verified over $3 million spent by Honkamp Krueger employees at client businesses, Mr. Kunz said. In June, the app’s value was recognized by the Association for Accounting Management with its 2015 Maverick Marketing Award.

Honkamp Krueger also uses video to personalize and share its message, with 18 videos on YouTube offering humorous looks at the world of accounting. The firm has 12 locations, and was recognized as the Fastest Growing Top 100 Accounting Firm in the Midwest for 2015 by Accounting Today.

– Dave DeWitte

TIMES ON LIST:
1st Time of Best of list