And while this might be the case, they often overlook the low hanging fruit that’s right in front of them (and this low hanging fruit is often the juiciest in terms of revenue it can produce!)
It’s quite simple…
Low hanging fruit = their existing clients.
If you’re not maximising your revenue from your existing clients, then you’re leaving money on the table.
So, how do you go about maximising this revenue?
Increasing fees is one way, selling additional services is another, but the one that’s often neglected (which can get the greatest results) is to implement a customer service strategy.
Here are 3 reasons why customer service strategy is key to maximising your accountancy practice revenue:
1. You Increase Your Client Retention
Historically, client retention was never much of an issue for accountancy practices. Most business owners would stay with the same accountant until they retired.
Nowadays, it’s not so straightforward, and technology is playing a big part in that…
On the one hand, technology has reduced any possible barriers to change. With financial data stored in the cloud, it’s easy to send entire financial histories at the click of a button.
On the other hand, technology has enabled the rise of ‘online accountancy practices’. These practices are leveraging technology to maximise their efficiency and offer low-cost services. And if they can offer it so much cheaper than you, why wouldn’t your clients want to leave?
The key here is to understand that client retention boils down to one thing…
And these relationships can be broken down into 2 types of connection:
- Transactional connections – This is when I call you up and we discuss your accounts. Or I call you up and I have a query about your tax. Or you come and see me at the end of the year and we review your finances. This is related to what we do for a living.
- Relational connections – These have almost nothing to do with the work that we do. These happen when we meet up for lunch. When I send you a birthday card or a welcome gift hamper. These are purely social and relational.
Most practices choose to focus solely on transactional connections and as a result neglect any relational ones.
This creates a huge opportunity for you…
You can still focus on doing your best at transactional connections, but, you can also ensure that you over-deliver on relational connections.
- When a new client signs up, send them a welcome gift hamper
- Send out client birthday cards
- Create a ‘WOW’ experience when they come to visit your office
- Invite them to socials and networking events
- Give them regular courtesy calls to touch base
And when you do this, you’ll safeguard your clients from competition and retain them for longer because of the strength of your relationship!
2. There’s Greater Opportunity To Up-Sell/Cross-Sell
With a customer service strategy in place, you and your team will get to spend more time with certain clients (depending on their client grade).
What this allows is for you to build more meaningful relationships, dig deeper into their business and personal circumstances, and to uncover more about what their specific wants and needs are.
And when this happens, it puts you in an incredibly strong position to then serve that client at a much higher level than what you might be currently.
This can be done in two ways:
- Up-sell – This involves offering more of your own services to the client. It’s down to you to dig deep to find out what their goals are, and then up-sell the services that will help them achieve them.
- Cross-sell – Typically this involves offering services that might not be in-house, but will still contribute to their overall goals. For example, you might partner up with a financial advisor to offer wealth management services to those who want it.
But remember, this is only possible when you and your team spend more time building relationships with your clients so that you can truly understand what they need.
3. It Generates Word Of Mouth Referrals & Raving Testimonials
When you start to focus more on customer service, it’s natural that your client satisfaction will increase.
The standard way to measure this is to calculate your Net Promoter Score.
Ask your clients; “On a scale of 0-10, how likely is it that you would recommend our company/service to a friend or colleague?”
The clients that respond with a 9 or a 10 are classed as ‘Promoters’. Typically, these are clients who buy more from you and stay with you for longer (which is why the first 2 points in this article extremely important).
These ‘promoter’ clients can be used to maximise your revenue in 2 ways:
- Referrals – ask them who in their network you can be introduced to and then ask for an introduction to be made. Warm referrals nearly always convert as clients.
- Testimonials – ask them to leave a written (or video) testimonial that you can use in your marketing and on your website. This will help with the conversion of colder prospects.
For any clients who score less than a 9, ask them “what can we do to move you up 1 point?”. And when clients answer this question, make sure you action it immediately so that they know you really care about their responses!
Your Customer Service Game Plan
Here are some next steps to help you implement a revenue-maximising customer service strategy in your practice:
- Complete A Client Grading Exercise – Grade all of your clients and place them in one of the following grades; A+, A, B or C. You can grade them on things such as how profitable the work is and how much you enjoy working with them. Top tip – don’t have any more than 20 clients in you’re A+ grade.
- Create A Customer Service Package For Each Grade – You don’t want your 1st class ticket holders flying in economy, and vice-versa. Each grade should have its own customer service package with a combination of transactional and relational connections.
- Leverage Technology Where Possible – Technology is great for 2 reasons; it reduces human error, and it makes systems scalable. Where possible, use technology to automate your customer service experience e.g. automating reminder emails for upcoming deadlines, or automating the client onboarding experience.
- Train Your Team – One of the big keys to making this successful is to train your team to be customer service reps, not just bean-counters. It’s important that they buy into the idea of offering greater customer service to your clients, not just churning out the work.
About The Author
Rudi Jansen is the Head Coach at Accoa, and the author of the Amazon best-seller, ‘The Highly Profitable Accountant’. He runs a coaching programme exclusively for Managing Partners of accountancy practices to help them increase their profits, work less IN the practice and build a hands-free practice that gives them freedom. To read more of Rudi’s content, click here. To attend one of Rudi’s upcoming seminars, click here. To pick his brain email [email protected].