Prioritizing Client Satisfaction:
Ascent Financial is far from your typical consulting agency. The company serves the agricultural community with business and transition planning. They currently assist over 3,000 clients in 7 different states. As a business, it's important to them to ensure client satisfaction from providing visibility into who is assigned to what project, track the progress of each task, and provide thorough reports.
Though Ascent Financial has held a steady client-base, Britt Waibel, who has worked at the company for almost three years, found that employees were frustrated with the amount of time they spend on manual work each month. She also found that this major pain point was beginning to affect their clients.
"We didn’t know where each case was in the process,” Britt recalls. “We couldn't see where our clients were at, which was causing issues." Britt was tasked with finding a solution. Prior to using Accelo, Ascent Financial relied on a home-grown, legacy system, but quickly found that it lacked what the company needed. "The system was outdated and wasn't very user-friendly," Britt said. "It doesn't have the nice, clean workflows we needed.” At Ascent Financial, Britt is responsible for sending invoices to clients, receiving payments, tracking consulting hours, and more.
Before Accelo, Britt was spending 12 hours each month manually entering information into the system.
She remembers a particular situation where a sales consultant sent out an email to a client that she was not CC'ed on. The consultant was out-of-office, the client was struggling to find the email, and there was no other way to pull essential details from their email correspondence needed to complete the client task. They had no other choice but to contact the consultant and ask for it, causing frustration all around. As a company that prides itself on providing excellent customer service, making sure everyone is aligned on projects and that someone else can seamlessly take over communication for a consultant that is out-of-office is essential to making that happen.
Britt found Accelo after doing extensive research on alternative solutions. Right away, she noticed that Accelo was much easier to use compared to their older system. On top of the extensive visibility the platform offers, she was impressed by Accelo’s crisp, clean, and easy to use design.
"We work with some senior consultants, so it's important that they can figure it out and there are as few steps as possible as opposed to the 16 steps you need to take for the same result in the old system. We needed something more user-friendly."
After doing extensive research and sampling five other solutions, she chose to move forward with Accelo. The Projects and Retainers Modules have been particularly helpful, as it prevents the need to track hours and payments through Excel. Projects are also used to create Projects Budgets. Additionally, Retainers are used to ensure payment is made upfront, which differs from other companies that do the work first and send out the bill later. The Retainers functionality really stood out as competitors did not offer this feature and it is the primary manner in which Ascent Financial does business.
Since implementing Accelo, Britt has seen significant, company-wide improvements. Providing monthly updates, invoices, and reports that used to take 12 hours per month. With Accelo, she has decreased that time by 67%. As a company, Accelo has saved 25 hours monthly. "Accelo has helped me immensely with organizing, and knowing right away, what's been done yesterday or the day before," she says. "I can also plan ahead and check what's coming up in the next month or two." Britt also noted that client and consultant happiness has increased. Invoices are paid on time, which results in contractors being compensated on time."Accelo is our main hub where we store all the documents that clients submit," Britt explains. "Almost everything is done in Accelo. We no longer have to do things manually, and it has given us a lot of time back."