Update: This article was last updated on 12th April 2019 to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.
Customer service experience is a paramount reason that contributes to long-term business success. However, in the case of service-based businesses such as accounting firms, quality customer service is even more essential.
An outstanding service experience leads to several business benefits, such as – improved customer retention, more chances of earning client referral, timely payments, market reputation, etc.
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Accounting services require regular interactions between the client, and the involvement of the private financial details requires you to keep the client impressed. However, it is easier said than done.
The clients are generally very demanding, and with the increasing competition in the market, the clients need a reason to retain you for their accounting requirements. Moreover, as other business processes are digitized, the clients expect the use of the latest accounting software and technology.
Here are the best ways that accounting firms can adapt to deliver excellent customer service and impress the client:
1. Strategize Your Operations
First and foremost, priority must be given to the strategy of your accounting firm. You must analyze the resources and potential that your firm has and, relying on it, calculate what you can offer to the client.
Set your goal and purpose right before you start. This practice will expand your abilities to know your strengths and limitations, which is critical for perfect customer service.
2. Offer Excellent Services
At the end of the day, what is actually going to matter for the client is the service that they are looking for. Providing those services right and on-time is a critical contributor in keeping the clients happy.
In that process, be honest with the services that you promise to deliver. Otherwise, failing to keep the promises do not really keep the relations sound.
3. Communicate at The Client’s Comfort
As mentioned above, accounting firms require regular interaction with the client to keep the operations on track. Different clients have different choices with the medium and the timing of those interactions. Since the client is the king, it is your responsibility to bend and accept them.
For instance, the clients might be from diverse time zones making your accounting process 24/7. If you aim for customer satisfaction, you must provide them support whenever they need it.
However, technology is evolving at a rapid pace to offer unified communications at affordable prices, which leaves you with a variety of options, such as – phone, IM, email, video calling, etc. to interact with the client. You can choose the mode of communication the client finds convenient.
4. Remain Available Everywhere, All the Time
In recent years, accounting users are moving to cloud-based solutions at an abrupt pace. Cloud solutions allow users to access the accounting applications and data from remote locations with the help of an internet connection.
So, even if you are traveling on vacations and the client needs your services urgently, you can access the accounting data from your smartphone and offer the same.
This helps in improving the clients’ trust as you are always available for them. Moreover, it improves your productivity, and you can offer the clients better services.
5. Secure and Protect Client’s Data
For the clients, the worth of accounting data is second to none. If you are taking its security lightly, there are good chances that you might annoy the client. It might also lead to the client starting to look for other options as your replacement.
As an accountant, you must keep the data protected not only from the potential attackers but also from the possible hardware and software errors. In this age of cyberattacks, you should ensure that the data is protected under multiple layers of security.
Moreover, you should always use strong passwords for devices and account logins. Along with that, regular data backup is a necessity. Opting for the automated data backup services is a more reliable option.
6. Appreciate Clients
Appreciation is universally admired. Be it the service provider or clients, words of appreciation instill positivity in all. The achieve this positivity; you can start with customer appreciation for choosing you, making payments, etc.
It is difficult to acquire a client; however, it is more difficult to keep one around. Hence, you should constantly make efforts to show them how much you value them. You can send them emails thanking the client for staying with you for so long. Offering discounts or special services are also not a bad idea.
7. Collect and Analyze the Feedbacks
Customer feedbacks are the real representation of your service standards. Even though you cannot keep all the customers happy, you make attempts at maximizing the number of satisfied customers.
For that, reviews of unhappy customers can play a dynamic role. Their feedbacks will let you know about common issues your customers have with your service and then you can work on them.
So, never forget to ask your clients for the feedback. You can do so on a monthly or quarterly basis via email or online portal. The feedback form should have relevant questions that can evaluate the satisfaction level of the customers and the way you can improve them.
The Story So Far!
Customer satisfaction is the ultimate parameter that defines the success of an accounting firm. The accounting professionals should make sure that their customers are happy with the services delivered. Otherwise, with the number of accounting firms emerging over the past decade, the clients have no scarcity of options.
The firms should appreciate the customers for staying with them and ask for any improvements they could make to the services. They should also put efforts into adopting the latest technologies and software products available in the market. When the clients are satisfied, they stay with you for longer durations and also refer you to their peers.
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