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How Accountants Can Improve Client Service!

Written by Bernard Schoeman on 11 Sep 2020.

Bernard Schoeman

CA(SA), Post Graduate Diploma Accounting, BCOM

The Tax Shop Head Office

We all know that customer service is an important aspect for the success of any business. Accounting firms are generally not regarded as poor in this department, but who just wants to be average? By providing excellent client service, not only do clients benefit, but the practice also benefits by differentiating itself from the other “average” firms out there.

In building a successful accounting firm, the needs of clients can easily be overlooked. According to international research as much as 70% of clients wanted to change their accounting firms because they felt that they were not valued. While emphasis is often placed upon servicing new clients, the established ones should never be neglected.

Here are some strategies for improving service and relationships with clients:

1. Communicate regularly

It is important to interact with your clients regularly and to understand what their expectations are from the relationship. Ask them questions and learn about them as much as possible. This will help your firm to deliver the right offerings and will also earn their loyalty.

2. Be Proactive

The default approach followed by most accounting firms is to respond to client issues once they occur (reactive). Adopting a proactive approach is one of the most efficient ways to improve your accounting firm’s client service i.e. by letting clients know about their potential issues in advance and sharing what you are doing to solve them. Providing regular updates during the process is also critical.

3. Leverage Technology

By employing the latest technological innovations, it has become easier for accounting firms to interact with their clients. Accountants today need to use cloud accounting solutions and apps to make their client’s lives easier and to communicate with them.

4. Build Trust

No client will stay with a firm it does not trust. Building trust is one of the important aspects of good client service. No matter how good your service is, one of the things clients remember is the interaction they had with the firm – from the first meeting to the delivery of the service. It may be a good idea to obtain feedback through a survey. Be open to suggestions and complaints.

5. Timely Responses

One of the biggest complaints levelled against the accounting profession is the lack of response. It’s important to respond quickly, even if just to buy more time to complete a service. A good trick is to have pre-recorded responses to common questions. Also, consider setting up an automated response to emails to inform them that you have received their email and are attending to it.

There are many other aspects to client service not covered here, but the above advice will go a long way to keeping clients satisfied. Satisfied clients are loyal clients who remain with you for a long time.