First impressions are lasting ones. For a tax business, first impressions happen when a potential client calls or when they walk through the door. Think about your office. What does a person walking through the door see when they arrive? Do they see a clean, professional looking environment or a mess of paperwork? What experience do they have when they step foot into your office for the first time? Are they welcomed and cared for or neglected and ignored? Here are some things to consider to ensure clients have a great first impression, of you, your office, and the job you did for them.
Maintaining a professional office image is everyone’s responsibility
It takes a team to accomplish a successful tax season. Office managers should hold the entire team or staff responsible for keeping office and workstations clean, organized and uncluttered. Here are some reminders to give to your team to ensure everyone is pitching in:
- Always pick up paper or trash that may be lying on the floor.
- If the entrance doormat is dirty, get the vacuum and vacuum the mat.
- If the entrance door glass is smudged, clean it.
- Don’t forget to clean up in the Break Room.
- If they use the conference room, put the chairs back in place and clear the table.
- If they notice a repair or maintenance issue, email the person in charge.
Hearing “It’s not my job” is not helpful. All of these responsibilities are part of everyone’s job. Pitching in as a team will ensure that you present a professional image and promote a clean and healthy environment for your clients and employees.
Maintaining professional Client Service is essential to the success of your business
Here are some things to communicate to your staff to ensure that each and every client is taken care of properly.
Answer all phone calls by the third ring
Everyone in your office should be held responsible for answering the phones. Tax preparers can and should help to answer the phone, especially when the call is from a local number. If the phones are not answered, your clients will think there is no one there, and you will lose business.
Greet Clients Immediately when they walk in.
At our sister company, Peoples Tax, we installed windows in our private tax offices and a bell on the door so our tax preparers can see and hear clients entering the office. This is to ensure everyone knows when someone walks through the door. Everyone in your office should be trained to ask clients they see in the reception area if someone has helped them. If the preparer is not with a client, he or she should immediately greet any client who enters. If the preparer is with a client and no one else is in the office, they should excuse themself and greet the person who entered. It only takes a minute, and it means a lot to the client that they are being recognized and not ignored.
Make Client Tax Interviews professional, friendly and thorough.
Your clients expect and deserve much more than just a correct tax return. That is a given. Clients will only choose you over other options if you provide a positive experience and added value. Making the experience positive and adding value requires making a good first impression, showing genuine concern for the client, being very friendly and courteous, and making the client aware of what you have done to minimize their taxes. You should always end the interview with questions and comments such as:
“Have I answered all of your questions satisfactorily?”
“Is there anything else I can assist you with today?”
“Please be sure to refer your friends and family to us, we would love to help them.”
“We look forward to seeing you again next year.”
You should aim to be known not only for accurate tax returns, but also for your great service, prompt responses, positive attitudes, and professional environment. Your clients have lots of options, and they chose you. Make sure that you keep them coming back, keep them happy and keep them referring new clients to you!