With the right approach, you may be able to save the relationship. Unhappy clients won’t tell you they have a problem; they’ll simply move their business elsewhere. So, if a client gives you a chance to repair a bad situation, take it. Here are a few tips from Maribeth Kuzmeski, author of “The Connectors: How the World’s Most Successful Businesspeople Build Relationships and Win Clients for Life,” to keep your business relationships from going bad — and rescue those that have started to sour:
Topic: client service
We’ve found at least 50 items. What would you add? By Ed Mendlowitz The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor QUESTION: What type of information should be kept in, or as, permanent files? RESPONSE: A permanent file should be maintained for each of your clients. This would include the following: Engagement letters Representation letters – I would keep these in the permanent file. An example is that a claim could be made after you no longer have the work paper file associated with the matter. This is especially so with estate planning consultations where a claim could arise many years after a gift tax return was filed. I would keep copies of Crummey letters in the file for the gift tax returns, if […]
Use these busy days to get to know your clients better. With a few quick questions, every client meeting can turn into a new relationship-building opportunity. Ask how the firm is doing as a whole to assess satisfaction. Ask some open-ended questions about the client’s current situation, challenges and goals for the year. Delve a little deeper into potential specific services, such as multi-state tax requirements or pension plan audits. Request referrals. Keep it short and be sure to have a mechanism in place to follow up on the information that you learn from these interactions.
Try these 6 ideas to stop losing business to competitors. By Sandi Smith Leyva The Accountant’s Accelerator It’s rare that I lose business to competitors, and it’s also not an accident. If you are losing business to your competitors, here are some strategies you can use to “become a category of one,” as they say in marketing.
Project management for accountants, by Ed Mendlowitz, the CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor…
Set an agenda; call a meeting. By Ed Mendlowitz The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor QUESTION: I have many small business tax clients and seem to lose them as they grow. I provide good service, never have extensions and call the clients in July to see if I can update their books and in December if they want any year-end tax planning. What else can I do? RESPONSE: Based on our conversation, you are their tax preparer and they do not think of you as their “accountant” or business advisor. And based on what you told me, you aren’t, although you obviously have the skills.
By Ed Mendlowitz The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor QUESTION: Occasionally I get a new client in an area I am unfamiliar with. How do I find out what I do not know? RESPONSE: This happens to everyone and probably more often than we expect. Thankfully we will continue to get new business and getting clients in areas we are unfamiliar with enables us to grow. MORE PRACTICE DOCTOR Q&A: 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Making Small Business Clients Happy | Client’s Difficult Daughter Balks at Bill | 6 Simple Steps to Impress a Prospect | 10 (Nearly) Painless Ways to Keep Up to Date with Technology | When a Staffer Stops Listening | 10 Ways to Get New 1040 Clients | Making Meetings […]
How clients value the intangibles. By Hitendra Patil Pransform Inc. “What leader has the most positive influence in your daily life?” The answers to that Gallup Poll question may be astoundingly important for CPAs who strive to make a positive difference in the lives of their clients.
By Ed Mendlowitz The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor QUESTION: Most of my clients are either tax returns or small business clients. The number of individual tax returns grows each year, but I seem to be standing still with business clients. For every new one I get, I lose one. Otherwise, I have about a 6 or 7 percent turnover. Is there anything I can do to keep them? RESPONSE: I think small business clients need extra hand-holding from us because they are really alone.
New strategic ally, or competitive threat…?
Becoming a ‘trusted advisor.’ By Sandi Smith Leyva The Accountant’s Accelerator Here’s a question: What portion of your revenues are derived from compliance work – e.g., tax preparation and IRS representation; bookkeeping; QuickBooks setup, cleanup and training; payroll; and audit work – versus value-added work, e.g., revenue improvement, business consulting, profit margin analysis and workflow improvement projects? If you answered 100 percent compliance work and no value-added services, you’re not alone. There’s a lot of lip service about moving from compliance services to becoming a “trusted advisor.” There’s an equal amount of confusion in how to get started. Here are a few tips to help those of you who want to move in that direction.