While the accounting principles have stayed the same for hundreds of years, the practice of accounting isn’t what it once was. One consistent area of...
7 Reasons to Excel at Client Service
Increase profits by improving client service at your accounting firm and automating it with accounting practice management software
There is a growing focus on providing excellent client support involving personalisation, consideration and regular touchpoints. And if you have an accounting or bookkeeping practice and still need the appropriate technology to help you achieve that, this is your sign to step up your game. Are you not convinced? Here are seven reasons you should put your client at the centre of your business.
Client acquisition is harder than client retention
One of the biggest reasons why you should provide your client base with the most personal, careful approach is that retaining your existing clients is much cheaper than acquiring new ones all the time. Imagine having to onboard a new client all the time to make up for the losses of an old one - it will cost you both time, money and energy, and over time you may lose your desire to build healthy relationships with them.
And building good relationships with your clients is smart business.
What's more, it is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire new clients than to keep an existing one, and a 5% increase in retention can boost your company's revenue by a minimum of 25%! Regular touchpoints, clear communication internally and externally, and smart automations are just a few things your practice can adopt to improve the level of support it can offer.
A good app stack, robust practice management software and a client support app (Timworks, for example, is specifically designed for accountants and their clients) can help you get there faster and without overwhelming your team.
Regular touchpoints with your clients are also critical. That way, you are kept in the loop and aware of everything on the roadmap - small changes go a long way.
Clients are willing to pay more for better customer service.
Not surprisingly, over 80% (or 1 in 8) of clients would be willing to pay more or extra for a better experience. Gone are the days when clients would accept things "as they are". Everything has changed to a people-focused approach, and your accountancy practice should keep up with those positive changes to stand out from the crowd. There is a focus not that much on the service's price but on the level of customer support and satisfaction, as well as the personal touch and approach. 70% of people will happily pay more if they get real human interaction and a convenient experience. It has also never been easier for a client to choose to go to a competitor, so they won't think twice if they are not happy with your firm's level of support.
The opposite is true - if you strive to provide the best client support and carry the reputation of someone who is always there for their clients each step, you can also charge a premium for this service without feeling guilty.
It will lead to higher revenue and a happier team if you have team members. In a sentence, you can't mess up if you prefer to provide better client support.
There is a shift to a client-centred approach in accountancy.
It comes as no surprise that the main topic of this year's XeroCon was putting clients at the heart of the accounting business. There is a growing trend that accountants are not just number-crunchers but an essential part of a business' growth. Showing your clients that you care about them and that you are involved and proactive can then significantly increase their trust and loyalty and boost your reputation. You don't want to fall behind and let your competitors steal your piece of the pie.
After all, accountants are dealing with people first, not just crunching numbers - and the reality is, more than sorting out their numbers and finances is required to be able to say that you support them truly, as a business.
Taking a closer look at your brand, your core values and what your firm stands for is also essential. You want your clients to agree and align with some of these values and beliefs if you want them to remain over their lifetime and be happy without forcing it too hard for either side.
Going back to the client retention concept, it is important to note that as much as 72% of firms struggle to find new clients. A third is considering switching to competitors as soon as they feel dissatisfied with the level of client support. Don't take your clients for granted. Offer them engaged, informative and caring support without harming your own business and with respect towards healthy boundaries.
A good way of approaching this is asking your client base for regular feedback and checking in on them now and then to ensure they don't need your assistance and to make sure that you are indeed doing a good job - the best way to know this is to ask the people who are in the centre of your practice.
Positive impact on your brand image
Treating each client like a VIP and ensuring you support them and not just send a report every six months will not simply benefit them and your business's revenue. It will positively boost your brand image and reputation.
The happier your clients are and the more you underpromise and overdeliver - the more impressed your clients will be.
It will truly matter to your brand's image and bottom line because of the power of WOM (Word-Of-Mouth) marketing. That's right - you may not be able to touch, feel or measure it, but Word-Of-Mouth marketing is one of the most potent forms of marketing out there because people trust their friends, colleagues and neighbours' opinions when it comes to products and services. Don't you? Therefore it is no surprise that good accountancy offering client support will be mentioned here and there, and perhaps one can even find a testimonial on LinkedIn that helps further.
Happy clients - happy team
Keeping your clients happy and satisfied usually stems from one crucial concept - forging solid and genuine relationships. And what does this mean? You feel better when communicating and interacting with those clients because you know each other. A level of trust, recognition and mutual understanding is usually absent in freshly started professional relationships.
In turn, unless you are a one-person army, the same principle applies to your whole team - they will also have an increased level of satisfaction due to healthier relationships with the clients they usually deal with. Moreover, the whole firm will follow the same brand image and customer support guidelines creating a feeling of unison and boosting feelings of belonging, equality and clarity. It will assist you in choosing the right team members you would like to work with that will represent your firm - you wouldn't want someone number-driven but lacking client communication skills to be a part of this.
Increased brand loyalty
Clients who have been with your practice for longer would be willing to buy more/spend more on your services than newer clients because they know your value and worth.
Satisfied clients who have experienced excellent support are more likely to forgive a mistake, which won't affect their perception of the brand. As much as 71% of clients would cease working with a business if they experienced poor customer service, regardless of the period they have been working with that company. It is important to note that to earn your clients' brand loyalty, you should focus on building better relationships. Having good organisational skills and ensuring you are using software that allows you to automate some of these processes, such as reaching out or updating your clients.
The Bottom Line
You don't need to do it all by yourself. Whether you have a team of 3 or 300, make sure that you focus on tech and SaaS that can support your efforts in providing excellent client support, not complicate them further.
Timworks is an excellent app that helps accountants to build client relationships while also using native integrations and automations that make the process of client communication smooth, efficient and trust-building. Oh, and it is safe and GDPR compliant, unlike some other chat apps!
When was the last time you said hi to your clients? Why don't you broadcast them all a message on Timworks? Book your demo today