In the process of building a tax or accounting practice, it can be easy to lose sight of the customers who help you grow. Here are 10 ways to attract new customers and keep your existing ones happy.
1. Create a service charter
This should lay out both big-picture goals (e.g. “We aim to maximise the profitability of our clients.”) and the small but important details (e.g. “All emails and phone calls will be responded to within one business day.”).
2. Provide seamlessly good service
The people who staff your reception are just as important as the professionals actually servicing the clients. Hire the best staff you can find and make it clear you expect them to project professionalism.
Here are the basics, which can be very tempting to let slide when you’re busy:
- Keep in touch with clients even if you’re not currently doing any work for them.
- Ask your clients what their preferred method of communication is and use it.
- Be available. If a client rings, make every effort to take their call.
4. Be upfront about what you’re charging
Few things will sour a business relationship quicker than unexpected charges or hidden fees. Let your clients know exactly what you’ll be charging for your services.
5. Show some flexibility with payments
Offering flexible-pricing structures, including suggestions for what clients can do themselves to keep their costs low, demonstrates to clients you view them as more than walking ATMs.
6. Stand and deliver
Be clear about what you will do and follow through. If you tell a client you will have a document drafted within two days, aim to get it to them in one.
7. Respect their time
Don’t keep your clients waiting. Be on time for meetings and set up systems to avoid them having to play phone tag or endure email ping-pong in order to communicate with you.
8. Do what your competitors won’t
If it’s standard industry practice for clients to come to the service provider during business hours, you’ll gain a lot of attention if you offer to go to your clients at any time that’s convenient for them.
9. Make every client feel like they are your most important customer
If a client drops by the office, introduce them around to your colleagues and give them the impression that everyone in the office is involved in providing them with the best possible service.
10. Ask clients to provide performance reviews
Requesting feedback shows you value your clients’ opinions and allows you to identify and fix problem areas you’d otherwise remain oblivious to.
There’s no getting around the fact that providing above-average customer service involves an above-average commitment of thought, time and energy. But if you can get this part of your business right, you’ll have a strong foundation for continued growth and profitability.