When you are working with small and medium enterprises, it’s always a challenge to retain good clients while at the same time limiting C Class clients. While many clients are driven by a partners personification, there are several risks for the practice which include clients going away after partner has left/retired, taking up too much time of the partner, etc
Some important steps to consider in retaining clients are as follows:
- Understanding the client- Make sure when a new client comes on board, you spend time to understand their business, understand his expectations of you, his business plans for the next 2-3 years, his source of funds, etc.
- Under promise and Over Deliver- You should also ensure that you tell the client what he should expect from you as deliverables. Never over promise a client while on boarding. You should tell him what you will be able to reasonably deliver. When you over deliver on your commitments, you will command greater respect and get more referrals
- Updates- Send quarterly/six monthly updates to your A list clients. You can customise them for each client to send them more relevant information. The client will appreciate that you care.
- Follow Up- Ensure you follow up with your clients. Chase them for records rather than the client chasing you. You can deploy simple CRM tools to follow up your clients. Allow time for your clients to prepare their records and still send them to you in good time. Ensure you have clearly articulated your requirements.
- Deliverables: Make sure you book an appointment with your clients ahead of discussing accounts with them. It’s always preferable to go to visit your clients and have a discussion. Make sure while you have taken care of tax and other accounting aspects and how to reduce them, you have also taken care of how costs can be reduced. Some simple tips would be to look at their financing arrangements and see that the cost of borrowing is not too high. Also, if there are excess funds available, you can recommend how to utilise them tax efficiently.
- Get together- Arrange for a get together of your A Clients at least twice in a year. Introduce a client case study demonstrating how their business has grown and how you have helped them. Do not over sell but present facts. It will be a good networking event for your clients.
- Expose your next line- Introduce your managers/seniors to clients when you are meeting them. This will increase the depth of involvement with the practice and significantly reduce your time spent resolving day to day queries. Your client will see your practice as more of an institution rather than one man army ensuring they remain with you for years.
About the Author
Barry Pendleton is a Lead Consultant at Corient Business Solutions and has experience of more than 25 years in managing accounting practices. He works with Accounting Firms to improve practice performance and reduce costs. He can be reached out at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit www.corientbs.com for further information