I believe that clients don’t know the difference, technically between a good accountant and a great accountant. Think about it, to what degree would your clients have detailed knowledge in reporting standards and taxation legislation? So if you complete a file and forget to include an accounting entry that will increase a deductible expense or perhaps you may be unaware that a certain tax concession can be applied to reduce the tax payable, the client is ignorant and unaware to these missing details.
BUT, if your level of customer service is average but another firm provides amazing service, the client does know the difference and I think they put a heavy weighting on this, especially in todays age where brand loyalty can change at the tap of a button and customers are spoilt for choice. That beg’s the question:
Is amazing customer service the key to a remarkable accounting firm?
Let’s look at it a bit differently. What if we are to fast forward 12 months and you implement all of the below idea’s. You reflect and can clearly see that your customer service has gone from zero to hero. Your clients are now more delighted in working with your firm. Your retention rate is the highest it has ever been. They in-turn start talking about you a lot more openly to their colleagues and on social media and provide amazing testimonials and case studies. That results in an increase in in-bound lead opportunities. Which leads to new delighted clients. That talk about you more openly, and so on.
If you want to go away from running a ‘vanilla’ accounting firm to a talked about business with a pipeline of ideal prospects and a book of raving current client, then an amazing customer experience will be a vital component you need to get right.
It is also a great point of differentiation. If the accounting industry is seen by more outsiders as a sea of sameness, the only difference being a firm is big or small, it actually pays to stand out. Who cares what other firms are doing. I think of it like a flock of sheep, all following each other, all huddled together, moving together. Why not be the wolf?
So where to start? I was recently working with a coaching client and the first thing they implemented are the first two idea’s below. They are a no brainer so add them to your list, then pick another 3 so all up you have 5 idea’s to implement in the next 90 days. Don’t do them all at once, just 5 idea’s.
You might even have additional amazing idea’s, these are just 20 quick one’s off the top of my head. We are nearing the Christmas period so no better time to implement than now.
Speaking of Christmas
Let me share a quick idea I’ve personally used in a prior year.
Coming into December I wanted to share an impactful and inspiring gift wth some of my best clients. I contacted a publisher of a well known travel magazine and said “I’d like to send your magazine to a number of my best business clients, can you help me out?” The response was if I can organise someone to pick them up, I can have as many copies as I like. I then had a administration team member design a stack of custom Christmas cards and I hand wrote a personalised message including the following line:
“I’ve enclosed a copy of my favourite travel magazine. With all the work we are doing together to free up your time and boost your profits, I thought the magazine would prompt a travel destination for that long awaited family holiday you will now be able to take in the new year! Just remember to send me a postcard.”
Feel free to implement that strategy or any of the below.
20 Amazing Customer Service Idea’s
- 24 hour response time (or quicker!)
- Send an update that there is no update (9 word email)
- Cloud document management to quickly and securely share doc’s
- Digital signing software to bring the the review and signing process into the 21st century
- Have a rolodex of referral partners
- Inspiring and talked about office space and meeting rooms
- Champagne on signing on as a new client with a hand written personal letter from partner
- Regular updates on seasonal and legislative topics that are relevant to client segments (inc. a group webinar with an open q&a at the end to field questions)
- Uber black pick up and drop off for qualifying clients
- Client invitations to events you are attending or hosting
- An helpful email showing clients how to easily find your office (google maps link and photos are outside), where to best park (i.e. are there close 4hour parks or perhaps inside knowledge such as 2hour free park in carpark across the road)
- Order in cafe coffees or purchase a coffee machine and ensure at least a handful of team members can make a ripper coffee
- Cater for longer board room meetings
- Keep detailed files on clients fav’s i.e. tea, coffee, beer, motorsport, films, sports etc.)
- Share insightful documentaries, youtube, podcasts, books, new apps/software etc. that are relevant to client segments
- Don’t charge for 10min phone calls or emails (that opens the gate for more regular client contact that’ll lead to more projects per client plus they hate being billed for a rounded up 12min)
- Budget a $ per client spend that any team member can access for customer experience (i.e. the Ritz Carlton have $2,000 budget per employee per day)
- Use booking software such as Calendly so clients can easily book time/dates that suit their calendar and rebook on there own
- Send sporadic and personalised gifts (i.e. last Christmas I had a client that has a 3 kids under 6 and I saw a MASSIVE inflatable swan at K-Mart that her kids would love or I have another coaching client who has 2 small kids and he always comments on my beard so I found fun santa hats with a massive white beard at a discount store that I sent to him for a laugh). People love this shit.
- Have a listen to this podcast where Steve Sims from Bluefish shares his jovial ideas.
If you have any great idea’s to add to the list please share them in the comments below ????????