Client relationships are the lifeblood of any accounting practice. Of course, the foundation of a great client relationship is providing excellent service. There is no substitute for being there when your client needs you. But, if you focus solely on delivering at deadlines, you might only talk to your clients once or twice a year. Strong relationships require more. With that in mind, here are four ways to keep in touch with clients throughout the year.
#1: Make a personal gesture
Every business sends out a holiday card in December, but how many times do you receive cards at other times of the year? Keep track of client birthdays and anniversaries, and send cards to celebrate those events and other milestones.
Read local business publications and keep an eye out for your clients’ names. Never underestimate the power of a phone call, or a personal handwritten note of congratulations. These little things become the big things that keep them coming back.
#2: Get together outside of the office
Put together an event every year that allows you to socialize with clients outside of the office. You might sponsor a charity event, rent a box at a sports game, or host a picnic or happy hour. Social events let you get to know people better and have conversations that aren’t focused on work or selling your services.
#3: Send out a client survey
After tax season is an ideal time to reach out to clients with a thank you letter and a survey. Asking for feedback is a good way to keep in touch because it shows clients that you care. It can also help you identify service issues before they become serious problems.
When you do get negative feedback, make sure you respond! Contact clients to discuss issues and do what you can to resolve them. This ensures your clients know you are listening and care about keeping them satisfied.
#4: Pick up the phone
Email is convenient, but the average adult receives 121 emails per day, according to a report by the Radicati Group. It’s easy for an email to get trashed, ignored or buried under newer correspondence. So, make a point to call, even when you’re not currently doing any work for them. Put a note on your calendar and set aside time to focus on making the calls and having meaningful conversations.
When you call, have a purpose. Don’t just call to say hi or remind clients about your services. You might call to mention potential tax legislation that could affect them, remind them about education credits for back to school, discuss estate planning or proactively talk about tax planning before year end. Often, when you call about one issue, your client will bring up a question or concern they’ve been meaning to call you about.
Staying in touch throughout the year shows your clients that you are thinking about them and looking out for their well-being. Investing time in your clients makes them feel important. That investment will pay off with increased retention and, ultimately, more revenue for your firm.