Many accounting firms are now facing the challenge of earning new clients/referrals and retaining the existing ones, in the context of changing business practices and technology. They need to deliver improved customer service or lose clients to competitors.
It is always bad customer service, which irritates clients and prevents them from having a long term association with the firms, costing them a fortune in revenue and new referrals.
In fact, long-term clients may seek a replacement soon after they feel their firms are not serving them well. That’s why; accounting firms should focus on upgrading their customer service and satisfying clients more than before.
Usually, the dissatisfaction of customers with accounting firms is in no way related to their lack of professionalism or accounting knowledge. It is mostly their lack of interest to interact effectively on a regular basis and understand the accounting requirements of clients. It is tough to believe if you own an accounting firm and are reading this, but be sure not to ignore the fast-changing accounting technology and requirements of clients.
Customer Service – Beyond Networking & Accounting Service
Every successful accounting firm will agree to this fact that the customer service is much more than selling accountancy and going to networking meetings. Firms will have to think beyond that whenever it comes to keeping their customers happy forever. What clients sign up for and expect is a personal level of service.
They just want to see excellent accounting support as well as reporting every time. In the absence of all this, customers may feel frustrated and prefer to back out, making it difficult for the accounting firm to find their next clients too.
From studies that could be seen, the accounting firms were proficient technically. Their customers had no issues with the price or the workability. Yet they called it a day, seeking a replacement quite quickly. It was never the technical efficiency, but the quality of customer service that made them decide otherwise – not what they received, but how they were treated with.
A study on human behavior states that loyalty to schools, partners, neighbors, workplaces, and communities is not often born out of commercial thought. This kind of loyalty is not non-existent either in the accounting world; it is just that customers need a reason to continue with their commitment.
Accounting firms have to learn how to build customer loyalty by going beyond the norms of being reliable and delivering effective services on time. It includes accounting service experiences exceeding customers’ needs, in addition to personal guidance in accomplishing their individual goals.
Why does an accounting firm need to improve its customer service, at least? Let‘s think about this by knowing the actual reasons for which firms lose their customers most of the time.
Reasons Why Accounting Firms Lose Their Customers
Many accounting firms work really hard to satisfy their customers the best. Yet, they fail to earn customer loyalty. It mainly arises out of flaws in customer support. Customer satisfaction is fully different than customer loyalty, which depends more or less on the reasons accounting firms give them to stay forever.
When trying to restructure their customer service, accounting firms face the problem of a lack of response from clients. Many customers are hesitant to share the actual reasons that make them leave.
They rather prefer to show common excuses like the accounting charges are high or quality of reporting is low etc. Yet, the failure to retain clients happens mostly because of no reply to their queries and the carelessness of the accounting company which doesn’t even care to fix the matters once for all – showing a high degree of indifference.
Common reasons why customers prefer to leave are:
- No timely delivery of accounting services or products
- No timely response to customer queries (emails, chats, etc.)
- A sense of not valuing the customers and their demands
To confirm further, here are the reasons why accounting firms fail to retain customers for so long:
- Don’t treat the customers right (the way they expect to).
- Ignoring regular interactions with clients.
- Don’t even bother to cooperate with clients.
- Not focused enough to let the client contract expire.
- Don’t think of informing clients from time to time.
- Assuming clients are technically skilled.
- Using clients to train new staff
- Choosing incompatible accounting and tax software
- Promising too much but delivering too little
It is clearly visible that quality service and price are the two factors that are not always dominant in the above lists. The thing is that most customers leave as a result of communication failures and a feeling of indifference.
In other words, the way accounting firms are well-treating or ill-treating their customers – decides how far their customers will remain loyal to them.
Why Is Customer Service Important For Accounting Firms?
The accounting service merely starts the relationship with the customers, but the bonding grows only with the right kind of support over time. How long will the relationship of an accounting firm with its customers rely on how well the firm handles his or her requirement?
The depth of the customer relationship decides whether it will be short-term or long-term. The era of on-time service is gone. Long term customer relationships are both essential and more suitable.
It is always the responsibility of the accounting firm to infuse customer loyalty with its action and support; it is never a two-sided affair. Accounting firms should invest a significant amount for client retention rather than new client acquisition. It gives the message of the importance the firm gives to its existing customers.
No firm will be in a position to sign new customers if the rate of satisfaction of its existing customers is very low. Customers will carry on with those accounting firms that perform beyond their expectations and give them plenty of reasons to stay. So, it’s better that accounting firms think more about making long term customers with improvised service standards.
About the Author
Sharad Acharya is a technical content writer at Ace Cloud Hosting, a renowned accounting, and business application hosting provider. When not writing about the latest developments in cloud, VDI, and cybersecurity, he loves to watch movies and ride bikes. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.