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Why app developers must focus on customer support for accountants - Intuit Developer Community Blog

October 8, 2019 | Amy Ball

Why app developers must focus on customer support for accountants

Have you heard about Intuit’s Design for Delight (D4D)? It’s the idea of falling in love with your customer’s problems, not the solution. I know, seems counterintuitive, but we believe that loving the problem inspires you to find the best—not just the most convenient—solution. There’s more to it, but the takeaway for you as an app developer is that your apps must fully and effectively meet your customers’ needs, including those of accountants.

In this same vein, Andrew Wall of WallCPA (now merged with CPA4IT), says this focus on your customers’ needs during the development process must continue once the app is in their hands. Old-fashioned customer support, which never goes out of style, is the pathway to success.

Andrew shares his thoughts on what this customer support should look like and also discusses a favorite QuickBooks Online app, Clarity HQ, which he talks about in this video.

Clarity HQ: Helping accountants and bookkeepers add value to their customers

Clarity HQ helps you and your clients understand seven key numbers extracted from QuickBooks, showing profitability, cash flow, productivity, and business return. Clarity also helps you create a step-by-step business-building plan and access cash/funding to grow and exit your business.

“The biggest benefit of Clarity HQ is the ability to help an account move from the rearview mirror to the horizon,” Andrew says. “As accountants and bookkeepers, we are often focused on getting the numbers right. We spend most of our energy on looking at the past and not enough energy looking to the future. If we want to add value, we need to help our clients steer around obstacles and drive towards the finish line.”

Using modern apps for accountants that seamlessly integrate with QuickBooks allows accountants and bookkeepers to help their customers meet their goals. Andrew calls it being their “superhero.”

What developers should include in their apps for accountants to be “superheroes”

As discussed, D4D is the concept of using deep customer empathy to solve real business challenges. Andrew says this empathy shouldn’t end when a customer purchases the app. Instead, the empathy should transform into customer support, and he has a very specific type of support in mind: phone support.

“Phone support, phone support and phone support. Yes, that means providing phone support where a knowledgeable person actually answers the phone. It’s imperative that you help me eliminate barriers to entry. I am looking for apps that are going to make me look like a superhero to my clients,” he says.

He also has some very clear steps app developers can take to win accountants over, and it means not including things. He explains.

When you build your apps, make sure you hold back something special for the accountant and bookkeeper that will make them look like a superstar because of their relationship with you,” he says. “That could be a better level of support extra functionality or better pricing. If you can get the exact same product direct from the app partner for the exact same price, what value is the accountant adding in the transaction? If you make us look good, we will be your best advocates. We will be both grateful and loyal.”

Moreover, Andrew says he looks for:

  • Apps that are approachable and easy to use: “A clean interface is essential. If my customers or staff struggle with the interface, they won’t use it and no matter what its core functionality is, it doesn’t add value if it’s not used.”
  • Apps that benefit his customers and staff: “Does it save time? Does it give me more insights? Will it help me make more money or collect my money faster? There are lots of ways you can add value. Find one and become the best at it.”

He ends with a few more insights from his accountant perspective. “Make sure you’re connecting with us on social and letting us know when you have updates, feature improvements, or even bugs we should be aware of. Keep the dialogue open and find ways for the accountants and bookkeepers to hear any news before their customers. Give us a reason to send our customers an email update or post in our newsletter about the latest and greatest features in your product, and make it easy for us to do it.”

Excellent advice for app developers as they create their apps for accountants. I hope Andrew’s wise words will help improve your productivity, and, ultimately, your success.

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