An Ethnographic Approach for Client Success

Increase Client Satisfaction with an Ethnographic Approach: Part 1 of 2

By Josh Tan
Director of Support
Nov 8 2019 read

Professional services is a difficult industry to break into, and even more difficult to stay competitive in. As an Implementation Manager at Accelo, my job is to help professional service businesses leverage our platform to help them succeed in this competitive landscape.

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 (Credit: Taylor & Francis Group)

In order to do so, I have applied an ethnographic approach to my implementation strategy. This type of approach requires me to take the time to understand each client as an individual, which means learning about their specific business needs and struggles with other platforms. Only after truly understanding their pain points could I then help each client in a way that is most impactful. 

From my studies, I have discovered how Accelo as a product epitomizes what professional services need to operate their business effectively and the advantages of culling my ethnographic background and applying it to my day-to-day to help my clients succeed. 

How my research comes to life with Accelo 

I previously attended the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and completed the Master of Technology Management Program, where a major focus of the discipline is to utilize ethnographic survey methods to understand the intersection of technology and systemized workflows within an organization.

As part of my program, I conducted months of ethnographic research with my UCSB graduate team where we interviewed over 25 independent accounting firms. We were able to break down the personas, preferences, and needs of our clients. From our interviews, we compiled a list of features that matter most to their businesses: 


This research was performed prior to any knowledge I had of the Accelo platform. As I have learned more about Accelo's array of features and integrations, I have recognized how Accelo's technology encompasses this approach to really solve the issues each client is struggling with, as opposed to a "one-size-fits-all" approach. 

How I apply my background in my day-to-day role

The benefit of an ethnographic approach is that it allows our Sales and Implementation teams to discover our customers' pain points and gain that crucial insider information needed to solve them. 

As a part of our configuration process, we inquire about our customers' problem areas, translate a description of current workflows, and create a job table profile for all end-users. One example of this is when we hear about administrators that spend too much time notifying their clients about upcoming deadlines. To help solve this pain point, we consider how might we introduce automated triggers to handle this process instead. 

By identifying these needs, the team can better assist our clients and proactively addresses issues before they occur. While nothing quite replaces investing in a cloud-based platform, proactively identifying client needs' shows initiative and dedication a client will always appreciate. 

Check back for my next blog where I'll delve into specific features that matter most to accountants, and how to leverage Accelo's comprehensive platform to bolster your business' own operations. If you're not already using Accelo, give it a try today! 

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About the Author


Joshua Tan is the Director of Support at Accelo and received his Master's of Technology Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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