Some workdays feel so busy that you barely have time to breathe—especially during tax season. But no matter how stressed out you may be, it’s essential to earmark time to invest in your client relationships.
Your clients are the foundation of your business, so you need a plan for growing their trust.
Trust is a cornerstone of any relationship. When building trust with clients, you need to understand their needs and listen carefully. Be sincere and make sure you’re on time for every meeting. These small, intentional decisions will make your CPA firm stand out against the competition.
Ready to learn more? Check out these eight ways to improve your accounting firm client relationships and make them last for the long haul.
1. Set expectations upfront
Whenever you take on a new client, set up a meeting or phone call to discuss their needs in detail. They may seem like a cut-and-dry client, but you never know until you discuss their financial situation and the expectations that they have from you. These conversations allow you to outline your business practices, including deadlines, how long it takes to respond, and anything else you need from them before getting started.
Setting expectations early on also allows you to determine whether the two of you are a good match, professionally speaking. In some cases, you may find that they are looking for an accounting firm that offers a different scope of services or approach to client care. If this occurs, though, it’s an excellent opportunity to put your referral network to good use.
2. Listen well
If you’re constantly talking over your new client, they aren’t going to trust you. And if you don’t listen to their needs and meet them, they may take their business elsewhere.
Try using these active listening tips to build trust with clients:
- Paraphrase what your client said before you speak to show you paid attention
- Use positive body language like nodding while your client is speaking
- Make sure the person finishes speaking before giving advice
- Say brief verbal affirmations like “I understand”
Another helpful tactic is to send recap emails or leave notes in their client portal to confirm deliverables and deadlines. These kinds of communications demonstrate that you’re listening and also serve as a reminder to them.
3. Be sincere
You want your office to be warm and inviting to your clients.
When they arrive, greet them with a smile and ask how they are doing. If they just say “fine,” follow up with a more specific personal question to show you want to know more about them. Some people want to get straight to business, and you should respect that, but others just need a little more engagement before they feel comfortable opening up.
If you only see your clients a few times a year, sending a check-in email can keep your relationship strong. Just make sure that it’s a sincere check-in, not a sales pitch for more business.
4. Respect your client’s time
Before any meeting or phone call, you need to be prepared so that you don’t waste any of your client’s time. Show up promptly at the meeting time—or even early when possible. Prepare a list of questions you need to ask your client to handle their needs.
Being prepared demonstrates that you value their time and want to make the most of it. It also shows that you’re committed to thoroughly and professionally handling their business.
And another benefit? When you prepare for your client time, you can gather all the necessary information, reducing the need for later follow-ups.
5. Prioritize client communication
Every person is different, so maximize your client experience by communicating with them via their preferred method. If a client leaves you a voicemail, call them back. If they respond to your phone calls by email, then only email them in the future.
Use whichever method your client asks you to use.
And be sure to keep them in the loop on the progress of their accounting needs. Don’t wait for them to call you. Initiate communication when you finish their audit or file their tax return.
6. Follow through with your promises
When you say you will have a client’s tax return finished by Friday, make sure you finish it by Friday.
You must follow through with your promises to ensure your client is satisfied with your service. And if you realize that you can’t make a promised deadline, communicate that with your client well in advance. If a missed deadline is going to impact them, it allows them to make necessary adjustments.
7. Take extra steps to maximize client experience
Go the extra mile to ensure your clients have a pleasant experience in your office. Offer coffee or bottled water in the lobby. Purchase nice products for the bathroom and make sure they’re always well-stocked. And be sure that the chairs you offer your guests to sit in are comfortable so they can focus on the meeting, not on their aching backs.
These small choices boost your client experience and set you apart from other accounting firms.
8. Utilize accounting practice management software to be intentional with clients
The right accounting firm practice management software makes it easier for you to be intentional with your clients. Look for the following features to help maximize client communication and experience.
- Comprehensive dashboards that break down every part of your projects
- Automatic task creation so you never overlook a deadline
- Send automated email reminders to your clients so they don’t miss updates or payment deadlines
- Import client data from other programs, so all their information is in one place.
Mango helps you deliver timely and effective service to your clients
Mango’s accounting firm practice management software offers helpful tools for CPA firms to maximize client communication.
Our detailed dashboard lets you sort through projects quickly and keeps a clear history of the client’s work so that you can recall any old information needed in a few clicks. You can access their information from anywhere, so if they call you in a panic while you’re driving, you can pull over and access their files on your smartphone. And you can automate tasks so that nothing important slips through the cracks.
Plus, Mango does everything except taxes, so you can save time throughout the day and focus more on your clients.
Boost your accounting firm client relationships and schedule a demo with Mango today.
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