With a delayed start to tax season, now is a great time to rethink your current client experience. Reviewing these tips and preparing ahead of time can set you apart from the competition and keep your clients coming back each year.
- Ensure you and your employees have a clear understanding of how clients should be treated and the experience they should have. Having everyone on the same page upfront makes for a more consistent client experience. Plus, it enables you to be more proactive and responsive when an issue arises. Take time to think through potential scenarios ahead of time, so you’re ready when the real thing happens.
- Understand who your clients are, so you can anticipate their needs and how you can make their lives easier. Do you have segments within your business? Should you be speaking to them differently? When you really know who your clients are, you can provide better service to them, give them products and services they really need and want, and your clients will have no reason to leave.
- Build relationships with your clients by creating an emotional connection. Send handwritten thank you cards, and birthday and holiday messages. Consider writing down personal things you talk about during your meetings and review those points before your next meeting. Making your conversations more personal creates an emotional connection. Clients who have an emotional connection are much more likely to stay with you. They become loyal to you and will be more likely to promote your services when they know someone with a need that you could help. They also tend to spend more money with you! So, spend time investing in them and they will return the favor.
- Be realistic about expectations and meeting deadlines. It’s important to operate your business with honesty and integrity. You don’t want to over commit and not be able to meet your clients’ expectations. You also don’t want to under promise and over deliver. It sounds good but you might end up looking like you’re not good at managing your business. It’s better to set up suitable expectations, and then provide updates on a regular basis – being honest and swift – if plans have to change. And lastly, if you can’t meet the original expectation, apologize. Own up to the mistake or delay, make a new plan, and make it right. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but your clients will appreciate you for being upfront about everything and handling it all with integrity.
- Be flexible and available when you can – ready to help in off times in a pinch. When you are flexible and willing to be available with your time, your clients will appreciate that and remember that about you. This gives them one more reason to stay loyal, and another reason to refer others to you. So, go above and beyond when you have the time available.
- Give free advice upfront. It’s always appreciated, and often pays off down the road. You are the expert, and taxpayers look to you for guidance. If you have a potential client calling and they have a straightforward question, take the time to answer it. They may decide they don’t need you right then, but chances are you’ll be the first one they call when they do have a need! Put good out into the world and good will come back to you.
- Over communicate – especially now that we are in such a virtual world. Try to anticipate what their questions will be and answer them upfront, explaining things in detail. Don’t assume anything. Be sure to follow up with your clients on a regular basis. If they’re not coming to the office, it’s especially important to send them regular updates on when they can expect things. Let them know if you need to file an extension for their tax return, and then give them a date when you expect it can be completed. Don’t forget to remind them if there are missing items.