Every person who visits an office is afraid that they’ll be treated impersonally or like they’re cogs in your firm’s machine. This is why personalizing client relationships are so important and client management for CPA firms helps make it a reality. Learn how you can apply these concepts to your firm in ways that won’t be too difficult for anyone to follow and won’t shock your clients too much to make them fear.
The Digital Elephant in the Room
We all rely on instant communication and messages in the palms of our hands for day-to-day interaction with other people but this doesn’t have to mean that personalization isn’t possible. Some of the tactics for personalization that companies used in the past can still be applied today with a bit of tweaking to work in a digital world.
Things like tagging individual people in social media posts or sending direct links of blogs a specific person will enjoy are easy ways to personalize contact with clients. These suggestions are similar to sending personal letters the way we used to before digital communication only you’re using the convenience of the internet to work for you instead of separating you from clients.
“The Customer is Always Right”
Where digital communication can help you, it can also make client management for CPA firms a little more difficult. You know where to find the best information for your clients but they also know how to find information and they will always believe that what they know must be addressed before you can explain anything to them. You have to listen to them and acknowledge that they have found something while still asserting your professionalism and superior knowledge. The old adage of “the customer is always right” doesn’t mean what it used to but clients do still think they’re always right. Everywhere else in their life, customer service may seem like a luxury so by acknowledging them for a moment, letting them speak, and answering their questions even if they seem tedious you are fostering a culture of service at your office. The clients will want to come back again and again.
Reward Service Leaders
Some accountants will catch on to these ways of client management for CPA firms better than others and when they do it’s important to celebrate them. Use positive reinforcement and incentives to show that you appreciate them learning quickly and then encourage them to teach others at the firm. Leaders cultivate more skill by teaching and it will make them feel good about what they’ve learned. You will be creating a culture that turns out more leaders and eventually your firm will be full of accountants that are able to operate with autonomy.
Learn from Marketing
For many years, marketing firms have been targeting personalized traits to sell products to consumers and many of the strategies used can be incorporated into your plans to mange client relationships better. One way that is always effective is researching the client. There is a lot you can gather from the information given to you by the client and through social media. Using a few personal details, you can personalize the next meeting with your client to be something they never expected. It won’t take you long to do this research and the client will be floored that you even thought to take the time at all.
Talk to Employees
Client management for CPA firms offers many ways to personalize the client experience at your firm but it is also important to pay attention to the employee experience. You have to make sure that the accountants at your firm are comfortable with using new tactics or they’ll feel awkward and it will show when they talk to the client. Offer support if it is necessary and use generated reports to try and identify those who are struggling before they become stressed in the first place. It’s not always easy to ask for help, especially during the transition to using new strategies. Include your employees in how you make these changes and you’ll be able to personalize their experience as well as you do for clients.