With competition abounding for accounting services, firms need to hone every advantage available to them. One of the ways you can set your firm apart from the pack is to create an awesome client experience starting with the first interaction and continuing through the entirety of the relationship. How does one foster this level of client service? Here are four steps to help you get there:
- Make a great first impression. The first impression a potential client gets about your firm can come from many different avenues. Strive to make all of them impressive. Is your website fresh? Are your client service reps easy to talk to on the phone? Does your social media offer timely, relevant information? Is your lobby clean and organized? All details matter. A poor initial impression may drive your potential client to the competition without a second thought.
- Manage the outcome. With every client interaction, there are three potential outcomes: positive, negative and neutral. In all cases, your goal must be to leave them feeling positive about your firm. Unfortunately, many firms limit themselves by removing the positive outcome right off the bat. For example, assume you receive a call from a client looking to hear about a new service. The employee that handles the service is not available, and you are limited in your knowledge. The worst thing you can say is, “I’m sorry, the person responsible for the service is not here at the moment.” In the client’s mind, you immediately removed the possibility of a positive outcome! Instead, engage the client to hear about their needs, gather as much information as possible, and commit to finding the answers for them and calling them back immediately.
- Search for useful feedback. No matter how well you strive to offer top-notch client service, there will always be some instances that are less than favorable. Often clients are more than willing to tell you about it, but you need to have a system in place if you want to hear the story in a helpful way. This can be as simple as response cards at the front desk or an automated email campaign looking for feedback. Encourage loyal clients to let you know how you are doing so you get a holistic view of your performance.
- Turn problems into opportunities. Knowing your strengths can reaffirm your approach and help you set client service performance goals. On the other hand, learning about a bad experience from a client’s perspective will give you great insight into how you can improve. Use these problems to focus your activity. Over time the results of this continual improvement can have a tremendous impact on your firm.
Creating a culture that excels at client service is attainable if you put in the effort to know your clients’ needs and understand that every impression matters!
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