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Window into Wipfli

The cornerstones of success: Listening to clients and delivering quality work

By Kurt Gresens

As the managing partner of an accounting and advisory firm, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the transformative power of two fundamental principles: listening to our clients and consistently delivering quality work.

These cornerstones have shaped Wipfli’s success and fostered enduring relationships with our clients, setting a standard of excellence in our industry.

Each year, through our client experience (CX) survey, we gather valuable insights that underscore the importance of these cornerstones. The feedback helps us shape our strategic priorities and practices to deliver exceptional client service.

Listening to clients: The heartbeat of our business

In the world of accounting and advisory services, our clients are the foundation of our firm.

They bring their unique needs, challenges and aspirations to us, and it is our responsibility to listen. Listening is an active, deliberate act of engaging with our clients to understand their needs deeply and respond comprehensively. It requires the ability to be curious, asking probing questions that allow them to open up about their concerns and hopes, and that is rooted in a trusting and caring relationship.

The results from our CX survey highlight just how critical listening and responding thoughtfully are to our success. We performed exceptionally well on the attributes our clients value most: listening, following through on commitments and answering their deepest questions. This feedback reaffirms our belief that our approach builds and reinforces trust. It also demonstrates our commitment to our clients’ success, a key tenet of our service philosophy.

Because no two clients are the same, their unique experiences drive us to look at each challenge differently. They are on the front lines of their industries and know their business best. By listening with a sense of curiosity and bringing our own insights and experiences, we can offer a different perspective on the challenges they are facing and provide them with the clarity to move forward and succeed.

Each client engagement is also an opportunity for us to learn more. Listening allows us to stay agile and responsive to emerging trends and opportunities, helping ensure that our advice remains innovative, relevant and forward-thinking.

Quality work: The pillar of our reputation

While listening is foundational, the true value of our firm lies in the quality work we provide. Quality is a consistent commitment to excellence with every project, every interaction and every piece of advice we provide.

At Wipfli, we know quality work begins with a commitment to a culture of quality internally. One of our five core values is excellence. This value comes to life in areas such as our comprehensive training, our coaching approach and our rigorous adherence to standards. We help ensure that every report, tax return, project and analysis provided is checked for quality through our exacting review processes.

We also know a thorough understanding of our clients’ needs and expectations is critical to quality outcomes. It means going beyond the basics to deliver insights and recommendations that are not only accurate but also actionable and impactful. Our clients trust us to provide the solutions they need to drive their success, and this trust is built on the quality of our work. 

Wipfli’s FY24 Client Experience Index results

In addition, we’re proud of our CX advocates score, which measures client behavior rather than intent — this “actual referral” metric is touted by CX experts as the gold standard for client experience. Wipfli has seen steady, positive progress in the percentage of clients who have taken action to refer us to others. Today, 55% of our clients confirm that they have referred Wipfli, an overall score increase of 6 points over the past two years.

The synergy of listening and quality

The relationship between listening to our clients and delivering quality work is synergistic.

By listening with curiosity, we gain the insights needed to understand our clients’ true needs, enabling us to respond with advice and services of the highest quality. In turn, the quality of our work validates our listening efforts, showing our clients that we have heard them and have acted in their best interests. This is both the foundation of trust and provides the building blocks for increased trust and transparency between Wipfli and our clients.

This synergy is evident in our CX survey results. Clients who engage us for multiple services rate us significantly higher than those who use only one service, demonstrating the value of our advisory mindset and the importance of delivering comprehensive and integrated solutions.

Shaping our future

As the managing partner, I am personally committed to continually elevating the principles of active listening and high-quality work as cornerstones of our organization.

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all our clients who participated in the CX study. Your feedback is invaluable and helps us strive for excellence. In the coming year (as with each year’s results), we’ll take that feedback and use it to elevate our strategy, operations, solutions, associate performance goals and learning development programs.

Additionally, I would like to thank our dedicated associates who diligently strive to create lasting positive impact for our valued clients. Your hard work and commitment are the backbone of our success.

Kurt Gresens

Kurt Gresens, CPA, CMA, CGMA
Managing Partner

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