If you haven’t done it already, this is the perfect time of year to put any one of these top 4 client retention strategies for your tax preparation business into place. Client retention should be a strong, foundational piece in your overall marketing strategy. Some of these strategies can be (and should be) used throughout the year – but there’s no doubt that the new year and the beginning of a new tax filing season are an essential time to put your client retention strategies into motion.
Find reasons to stay in touch
Stay in touch with your clients throughout the year, so that when tax season rolls around, you’ll be top of mind for them. If you haven’t been keeping in touch, now is the time to contact your clients and make up for lost time while getting ahead of the tax prep crowd. If you’re looking for something to talk to them about, try some of these topics:
- Offer a Client Loyalty Discount of 5% for each year they return up to a maximum of 20%. Tell clients this is a discount to thank them for their past business and to reward them for their loyalty – rather than just a discount that cheapens your services in general. Offering discounts in exchange for referrals (i.e. Refer-A-Friend) is another great strategy to keep loyal clients while growing your customer base.
- Life changes: A great getting-back-in-touch letter or email can include asking your clients if they’ve experienced any major life changes that could have changed their tax situation in the past year, such as the birth or adoption of a child, the purchase of a new home, divorce, marriage, retirement, or the start of a new business.
- News: Do you have any special news to share? Be careful with this one. There are two kinds of news: bragging news and news that clients can use. It’s alright to brag if something great has happened, especially if it’s something such as a reward for service. However, make sure to also have news your clients can use to make the communication about them. Include tax tips, major changes in tax law and regulations, or community news.
- Holiday cards: If you missed sending a message for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Solstice, Eid (which changes dates each year), or Christmas (because you may have diverse clients who celebrate different holidays), you can always send New Year’s cards in January – which have the added benefit of being non-denominational and better timed for your business. Your message won’t have to cut through the clutter of many other holiday cards and marketing messages.
In other words: To make your contacts count, personalize your points of contact, and make them useful to the reader.
Request feedback and suggestions
A great way to stay in touch with clients and get to know them better is to ask for feedback about your services. Are there areas where you can improve? Are there areas in which you excel that you could then highlight in your messaging to new clients? Are there new services you could be offering that your clients are looking for? Look for ideas that can help you to stay sharp, stay competitive, and offer the services your clients want and need most.
Offer year-round services
Are there year-round services you can offer (which can also be a great way to increase your income potential)? Another idea: Think about offering a mid-year or autumn check-in with clients. This check-in can be a great way to help clients be more prepared for tax season. Offering help in the form of a check-in along with some early bird discounts could help to encourage even the worst procrastinators among your clients.
Rewarding loyalty doesn’t always have to come in the form of money, gift cards and discounts. Think about throwing a few networking events throughout the year to help clients get to know each other. Perhaps there’s a fun community or volunteer event everyone would appreciate getting together for. This idea goes along with our “give to get” philosophy of networking and business in general. Help your clients find the people and services they need for their homes or businesses. They’ll remember you for being the one who helped them find these services and people. Networking and community events will in turn naturally bring more referrals and visibility to your own tax prep business.
The link between client retention and marketing
You may have noticed that these 4 client retention strategies for your tax preparation business were tied in with marketing ideas and tips. That’s because client retention should be one of your top goals when coming up with marketing strategies. New clients are great and necessary for growing your business. However, it takes less money, time and effort to market to existing clients who already know you and your services. Therefore, treat your current clients right. They’re the foundation of your business – and a strong foundation will help you grow better in the long run. If your client retention rate is, say, 85%, you would need to replace 15% of your clients with new client before you would realize any growth. Getting it to 90-95% would make it much easier for you to grow your tax business.