A lot of accountants put client service and ongoing engagement on the back burner. With mantras like “sell more” and “focus on growth” driving them, firms and businesses tend to believe they have too many other priorities than to listen to customers.
It’s no longer enough to merely support a customer; today, firms have to engage with their clients if they want to maintain good relationships and keep them coming back. The level and quality of support a firm offers right from its first customer can make or break its brand merely due to word of mouth – and even more so in the age of social communications thanks to online rating sites.
Here are 4 tips to help you improve your client service strategy:
1. It’s about the quality of the service in those interactions.
The road to client service nightmare is paved with good intentions. Everyone starts out with the intent of providing exemplary service on every interaction; the only question is whether it’s feasible to do so.
It’s important to find out how a client prefers a business to respond to its inquiries. You have to take stock of your resources and figure out which ones you can easily support. For example, can you answer a client’s question on the spot or will you have to rely on phone, email or text to solve the problem? Is there a lot of sensitive information in the exchange?
Once you have a good sense of what works for you and your firm, put it up somewhere obvious, such as your home page, the Contact Us page or even your portal.
It’s important to clearly outline when to try what medium, so that customers don’t waste time trying to get in touch on systems that aren’t’ being monitored. If you don’t set clear expectations, the expectations will be set for you.
2. It’s self-service all the way
To automate client support or to personalize it? That is the question.
There’s something to be said about truly personalized service – but, if less than half of your interactions involve a human intermediary, it’s a good sign that most clients would much rather use a self-serve solution.
Do this by setting up an FAQ section on your website. Clients won’t have to contact you for even the simplest of questions (where’s the ‘forgot password’ link again?), and you can concentrate on the really important queries.
Wondering how to go about it? We have you covered.
3. An automated monitoring mechanism goes a long way
Most of the time, client service frustration has little to do with the issue itself and everything to do with the way the issue is handled.
There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, but for the large part, it pays well to have a monitoring mechanism in place to minimize client frustration and the inevitable pressure it triggers. Whether you are keeping an eye out for certain keywords or looking out for signs of frustration, such as multiple inquiries around the same topic, a frustration-monitoring mechanism will help make sure that a business can jump in and have a chance at salvaging the situation before things get too far out of hand.
While many software solutions incorporate automated monitoring mechanisms, a business should learn and adopt a frustration-handling strategy.
4. Seamlessly connect all your software applications
A typical accountant juggles about 4-5 software applications a day trying to engage with their clients: invoicing software, a CRM, the helpdesk … the list goes on and on. In addition to managing these apps and the data they generate, accountants are also expected to keep their workflow smooth and uncomplicated in order to maintain high efficiency.
Connecting all the different apps can now be done with a click. This process also has the advantage of enabling data-sharing between the apps, allowing you to focus more on your tasks rather than spend your time juggling accounts and searching for information. This is the rationale behind the QuickBooks-Freshdesk integration, so that the next time a question rolls in, the system will just automatically pull up all the necessary customer information right next to it.
With more clients moving towards multiple ways to communicate with businesses, it’s important for firms just like yours to move along with them. You can do that by bringing all the media – email, phone, chat and more – into one place, adopting an easy-to-use helpdesk solution such as Freshdesk, making it easier to listen to what your customers have to say, whenever you need it.
More information on Freshdesk can be found here.