Not every single follow-up should be focused on your services; instead, you should make sure it is valuable for your client's needs.
1 min read
An important piece of developing long-lasting relationships with clients is an effective checking-in method. There are different kinds of client follow-up for the different stages your clients are at. When conducting any follow-up, your focus should be on helping the client. It’s important for your client to feel like you are serving their needs rather than coming off like you are pushing your own agenda onto them. Not every single follow-up should be focused on your services or business; instead, you should make sure it is valuable for your client.
Here are three keys to employing smarter client follow-up at all stages:
Make follow-up part of your routine rather than something you only do when trying to close a client.
Send a thank you email the same day you meet with a potential client. Determine other times at which you will send a follow-up. For example, maybe you'll always contact a potential client one week after meeting with them. This can be automated using a client relationship management (CRM) software. For prospective clients who seem more interested in your services, you could contact them more frequently than you contact someone who is less interested.
Additionally, branch out and employ different methods of follow-up. Phone calls, direct mail, emails, social media posts, clients will respond differently to each approach. Assuming one method is best for catching all potential clients could leave a lot of business on the table.
At your initial meeting with a client, be sure to ask what mode of communication works best for them and the best time to contact them. Your client will appreciate it if you show concern for their time and will be less likely to ignore you or feel inconvenienced.
However, even after determining best contact time for a client, following up to get documents and information for their case can be difficult. Some clients need several reminders to send the requested information. Placing a focus on how the follow-up will help move their case along should help client response time. For clients who still need extra reminders, you'll need to establish a schedule of how many times you contact them per week asking for information so that you can stay on schedule and complete cases efficiently.
You can follow up this way manually and work it into your daily routine, or to save time and maximize efficiency, you can use software that automates client requests. Canopy has a feature that allows you to place a request for a client's documents or information, of which they'll be notified through their client portal. You can also set the request notifications to automatically remind your client at whatever frequency you choose until the request is fulfilled. For example, if you normally have to remind your client about sending documents every other day, you could set the request to send at that frequency and the software would automate the reminder for you.
Don't forget that follow-up is also important after you've completed services for a client. Contacting a client only while you're trying to get their business may make them feel like you cared more about closing the sale than helping them. Conducting a brief, personal follow-up after finishing services on a case is a way to nurture and develop a lasting relationship with clients.
Whether you're contacting a potential, current, or former client, include information that would be useful to them. You could include a helpful article or blog post in an email. You could suggest relevant resources. Be personal. Show clients that you really care about helping them and their unique situation.
Remember that each time you conduct follow-up, no matter what mode of communication is used, is an opportunity to show off your unique brand and set yourself apart from other accounting firms. It's in your best interest to make each point of contact as positive and personal as possible.
From handling important financial statements and ensuring that the necessary administrative obligations are taken care of, to learning how to build good relationships with clients, there are a lot of moving parts to running an accounting firm. It can be difficult keeping track of everything that needs to be done but having a quality accounting practice management software can help make it easier.
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