With love in the air this week, there’s no better time to consider how important good relationships are. For accountancy practices, there is much to love about positive, long-standing relations with clients, which can bring so much value to both parties.
Developing strong bonds is crucial for small businesses, yet many practices can get stuck in a relationship rut, providing the same service to their clients year upon year. To form a great partnership, the challenge is to develop it into something more meaningful, evolving from a single transactional relationship to one with an emphasis on customer retention, satisfaction and lifetime value.
To grow a relationship, seek out opportunities to add value for the client. Also identify which of your clients are growing businesses; as a firm grows, so too does the potential to offer additional services, from bookkeeping and payroll, to management accounts and tax planning. Don’t underrate your value; if the relationship is working, your expertise is worth it, and clients will pay for it.
Good communication is a cornerstone of any decent relationship. Show that you are interested in your client and their business and make your communications relevant to their needs. The more you know about your clients' requirements and motivations, the better you will be able to serve them and stronger the relationship will be.
The right software can help make client communications even better – and life as a practitioner easier. Keytime’s Practice Manager (full version) adds comprehensive deadline tracking, timesheets, reporting and communication tools to make it easier to run your practice and delight your clients.
A keen user of Keytime’s Practice Manager, David Netton and the team at Wiltshire based Key Accounting Services find it invaluable. “Practice Manager is our bible within the practice. Everyone is on it and it’s such a good tool. We can issue letters to clients, handle our communications, feed into the client database and basically help us run the practice.”
In addition, IRIS CRM is another tool that can help; the Client Engagement Matrix is one of many reports that can be produced. This powerful and informative visual interface helps identify the white space and gaps in the services clients take from a business. With this valuable insight readily available it’s possible to deliver personalised, targeted email campaigns to clients with accuracy, creating new sales opportunities and informing clients of valuable services they are missing.
Bringing value is key to creating and fostering a relationship that will last. Where you can deliver more to the client in value than you take from them in fees, their appreciation and respect should not only help strengthen the bond you have, but reward you with loyalty, additional work and referrals.