Remember that song, “Love the One You’re With” by Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills & Nash fame? There’s a reason it has been covered by countless musicians since it first came out in 1970: the tagline is applicable to so many areas of life.
Even accountants would be wise to take Stills’ advice.
Most accounting firms’ business strategy for growth usually revolves around bringing on new clients, but this is just half the battle. Your company must attract new customers to be sustainable, but keeping your current ones happy is perhaps more important.
One of the keys to your firm’s success might just be to “love the ones you’re with.”
Let’s look at what client retention means and how to boost your retention rate.
What is client retention?
A client retention rate is the percentage of clients that a firm successfully keeps on its roster over a given period. A high client retention rate indicates that your firm is effectively maintaining its client base.
Your client retention rate is an essential key performance indicator (KPI) because it directly impacts your firm’s prospects for profitability and growth.
Consider these statistics:
- Boosting customer retention by 5% increases profits by 25-95%
- Companies have a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer compared to a 5-20% chance of a new customer
- U.S. companies lose $136.8 billion per year due to avoidable consumer switching
The cost of client acquisition vs. client retention
Bringing on new clients can be a costly process in terms of both time and resources. Investing in marketing strategies, lead generation, and initial onboarding typically requires significant time and money.
In contrast, retaining your existing clients can be a boon for your firm that’s both cost-effective and yields better returns over time.
One of the most advantageous benefits of healthy client retention is a happy client’s willingness to refer people they know to your firm. The power of word of mouth can’t be overstated, and no amount of money or marketing can beat a recommendation from a trusted friend or colleague.
How Client Collaboration Elevates Client Experience at Your Accounting Firm
Download our guide to learn how to remove bottlenecks and streamline client collaboration for the best possible experience at your accounting firm.
Here are seven things your firm can do to keep clients happy and onboard for the long haul.
1. Find clients that are the right fit
One of the most critical factors in successful client retention is finding clients who are a good fit for your firm right from the start. Look for leads whose needs align with your expertise and services.
To make sure you’re bringing on the right people, consider conducting a client audit to find out which clients are the most profitable and well-matched for your firm. This process will help you zero in on which clients to grow productive relationships with and refine future intake strategies.
2. Set clear expectations
When bringing on new clients, set clear expectations so that everyone is on the same page. Fully outline your scope of services, billing and payment terms, and when clients can expect deliverables—and share this information with clients from your first meetings.
Clear and transparent communication ensures that everyone knows what to expect and helps prevent misunderstandings or potential disputes down the road.
3. Be accessible and flexible
Your clients don’t always have time to address their accounting needs during standard business hours. Consider offering client-friendly solutions like secure portals where your customers can access all of their essential data with the click of a button.
4. Personalize client communication
Effective communication is the key to nurturing relationships with your clients.
Personalize your communication by acknowledging important milestones in their lives and businesses. By staying familiar with your clients and what’s happening in their lives, you can foster an increased sense of goodwill and trust.
Even personalizing your email and text message marketing can improve your client experience. Segment clients by service areas and send them valuable information based on their interests and needs.
5. Provide outstanding customer service
Another critical component of any client retention strategy should be providing outstanding customer service for all your clients. Respond to client inquiries and concerns as quickly as possible and do everything you can to prioritize their needs.
Again, client portals and other client collaboration tools can support this goal, but you can also implement strategies like email and text message reminders, online payment, and other convenience tools to make doing business with your accounting practice as easy as possible.
By exceeding client expectations, you’ll show them that you genuinely value them as customers and are dedicated to providing them with the best results possible.
6. Stay organized
Effectively running any business requires a high level of organization and efficiency, and accounting firms are no different. Ensure your firm stays organized with streamlined processes that minimize errors and delays.
You can do this by continuously evaluating your workflows and deadlines to assess where there are bottlenecks or issues with time management for deliverables. With the results of your evaluation, you can make data-driven decisions on how to best allocate your resources to achieve great results for your clients.
The Client Experience Checklist for Accountants
Client experience means means putting the needs and preferences of your clients above almost everything else in your business. Learn how to boost your bottom line and enhance your client experience.
7. Embrace technology
While you can implement most of these strategies without the latest accounting software, embracing new technology can make client retention and the handling of everyday operations at your firm a breeze.
An excellent practice management software will provide you with management solutions like the following.
Convenient client portals
A secure client portal is an essential collaboration tool that provides your clients with up-to-the-minute information on what’s happening with their projects as well as a convenient place to pay for your services so that you don’t have to chase them down to get paid.
Secure file sharing and eSignatures
Instead of spending days or weeks sending documents back and forth or wrangling client signatures, you can use secure file sharing and eSignatures to make all of your documentation processes a snap.
Project management solutions
Completing your work in a timely and efficient manner is essential for client retention. A great project management solution will provide a comprehensive project dashboard where you can assign tasks and monitor your team’s progress in real time.
Look for a solution that provides custom project templates to save you even more time when launching a new project.
Analytics and reporting
By leveraging an analytic dashboard that allows you to track KPIs and see a snapshot of your firm’s progress at a glance, you can make data-driven decisions that will boost productivity and efficiency and improve your services.
Mango Practice Management does it all
If you’re looking for ways to keep your existing clients happy and grow your accounting firm, practice management software can be a silver bullet.
From client collaboration tools like file sharing and eSignatures to increase client convenience to project and document management solutions to keep your team efficient and organized, Mango Practice Management has the solutions your firm needs to keep you on the path to continued success.
Ready to see how Mango can help you boost your client retention? Schedule a demo today.
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