Small Business

How Accounting Firms Can Retain Clients

The ultimate cheat sheet for accounting firms to retain clients.

Your clients are important, especially during tax season. This busy time poses many challenges. From ever changing tax reforms and upgrading firm wide accounting tools, to chasing unorganized clients for information and clarity – it is quite obvious that CPAs and accountants have a lot on their plates.

But what’s most important for any accounting firm to thrive is to maintain a strong client/customer relationship. In this time and age, customers don’t believe in giving any business a second chance – not when that business is managing their tax returns.

If they have a bad experience, they hop on to the next firm and never look back. That is why your accounting firm must strive to differentiate itself from its competitors by enabling a clear line of communication.

“The ABC’s are attitude, behavior and communication skills.” – Gerald Chertavian

How you choose to communicate with your clients defines the success ratio of your business. Say “Hello” to ensure a meaningful relationship with your customers. Remember, at the end of the day you have to have a consistent flow of revenues.

Tax season or not – an open communication strategy can help you in the following five ways:

  1. Gives a single view of a clientWhat does he do? What does she want from your services? How can you help them? –These are the kinds of questions that get answered when you talk to a client frequently. With every tax year comes a different need, as well as a whole new set of facts and figures. As a CPA, it is your responsibility to ensure you are equipped with the right information so that you are able to help the client accordingly.
  2. Helps to build a customer data bank – Your clients may want to be able to pick up the same conversation on different occasions. Unfortunately, the whole process becomes tedious when the client isn’t assigned an officer or a rep to look after their business, or when you decide to manage more clients than you can physically. Don’t be one of those stuck up businesses. Assign a client servicing officer or an accountant – depending upon the size of your business – to look after each client. It is important to not only keep track of clients’ work but also organize all that data properly. By doing this you will always stay on top of things.
  3. Creates opportunities to personalize and sell – The chances of upselling and cross-selling are high when you are trying to convert a prospect. An irritated potential client may find the price of your bookkeeping services too high or maybe he isn’t impressed with the level of services you are offering. What should you do? Customize. Personalize. Sell. Encourage him to purchase a high-end bundle of services or complementary to the one in question. The key is to focus on what they want and not what you can offer. A positive customer experience begins right at the selling point. Make sure you make the most of it.
  4. Rolls out a platform to network with referrals – Networking matters. If you communicate clearly and frequently with your clients, you open the gate to take on more business by word-of-mouth. It is also wise to attend accounting events and conferences to connect with other people in the industry after the tax season rush is over.
  5. Helps to establish oneself as a niche – Focus on a target customer base and become an expert for them. When you become an expert in a specific field, you become the go-to person and word of mouth brings forth new business. This will also help bring in new clients who are looking for a CPA with specialized skills. Communication matters – you’ll see.

A business is successful when it accommodates an open communication style with its clients. Whether you have an office in just one city or are spread across various geographical locations – you should have a proper system in place.

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