Maintaining and gaining clients—and keeping them all happy—is what keeps accounting firms in business. And those that do it well can thrive. Two of the big reasons clients leave an accounting firm are problems with managing client data and communication challenges. If your firm is struggling with either of these areas, here are keys to transforming client service.
Problem: Mismanagement of client data
A few of the factors that clients use to select an accounting firm rely on data management. They need to know that the services they’re getting are high quality, accurate, and that you’re leveraging their data to get to know them—and serve their needs—better. When data collection steps are redundant, lead to errors, or make the client feel nervous about security, your firm has a problem.
Solution: End-to-end integration of all your software solutions gives you a single common database. That not only makes managing client data easier and more efficient for your firm, it also means the likelihood for mistakes is reduced.
“I would put resources into making sure that the data is as up to date as possible,” says Ginny Fedrich, Firm Administrator at HBLA CPAs. “Have one way to do things at your firm that is consistent.” One way HBLA CPAs is doing that is by offering clients the option to use electronic organizers, with some sections already pre-filled, that they can fill out on the go, even from their smartphones.
Problem: Communication Challenges
It’s a fact. Clients leave because of poor communication. That breakdown can take several forms including difficult transitions when they’re transferred from one staff member to another, slow service, data security concerns, or simply a lack on your end to reach out to them with solutions.
Solution: Good communication practices need to be taught, practiced, and enforced. HBLA CPAs achieves this by making sure they are in touch with their clients constantly—not just when they need something. “This includes through social media, client education opportunities, and the phone too,” says Fedrich. “We touch base with our clients over and over again on different platforms to stay in tune with our clients’ needs.”
Technology also can help resolve many of these issues. For example, robust client notes and solid data maintenance policies can make internal transitions smoother. Integrated software solutions can make it quicker to access client data and easier for staff members to proactively anticipate client needs.
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