I don’t like to be a fearmonger, but here’s the truth…
Competition for accountants is increasing.
Advancements in technology, fee pressure, and a higher number of practices finally figuring out marketing (amongst lots of other things) have started to shake up the industry a little in recent years.
Once safe ‘lifetime’ clients are no longer as safe and secure as they used to be. And what this means is that now more than ever you must focus on actively finding ways to improve your client retention and improving your client experience.
Think about it like this…
Increased client retention = increased client lifetime value (CLV) = maximised revenue.
What this means is that if you want to maximise and protect your revenue, a focus on improving client retention is key.
So, here are 10 ways you can increase your client retention and protect your practice’s revenue…
And I promise that if you pick even half of these points and implement them in your practice, you’ll already be a few steps ahead of your competition!
1. Keep the human touch alive
With an increase in technology, cloud accounting and automation, there’s a risk of losing the human touch with your clients.
Where they would once normally call in to drop a box of receipts off, they can now scan them in using their phone from the comfort of their own office.
And this poses a challenge: how do you keep the human touch alive in an increasingly digital accounting world?
2. Document ‘best practice’ retention strategy
This one may seem a little obvious – but it’s surprising how many accountancy practices (and businesses) in general don’t document their ‘best practices’ for things.
Sit down with your team and pick which client retention strategies you’ll implement in your practice. It’s important that they’re involved in this process so that they feel bought into it.
Document this as your ‘best practice’ system and share it with your entire team (and future team) so everyone knows what’s expected of them.
3. Educate clients on services
I still believe that the majority of practices are leaving money on the table when it comes to selling additional services to clients.
But not only are you leaving money on the table for yourself, your limiting the potential of your clients’ businesses as well.
Educate your clients about all of the different services that you provide. You can do this via email, your website, case studies, in meetings and any other touchpoints you have.
They might not need it right now, but 12 months down the line when they do, who do you want them to call?
4. Dedicated customer support
You want your clients to know they can rely on you when they have an issue, so make them feel extra special with dedicated and unlimited email, phone and web support.
Having a special client hotline number or a client care manager that clients can call in case of any emergencies is also a great way of making them feel supported and looked after.
Look outside of the industry for inspiration on how to get this right.
5. Go out and visit clients your A+ clients
This one might not be practical for every single one of your clients depending on their location but visiting your A+ clients face-to-face is a great way of building on and maintaining your relationships.
For the rest of your clients, schedule regular catch up calls (either you or somebody in your team) just to catch up with everything that’s going on in their world and if there’s anything else you can help with.
6. Run a loyalty programme
I mentioned above about looking outside of the industry for examples of how to do things.
And this is one of those examples…
Loyalty and reward programmes are something typical accountants don’t do, but they can be a great customer service touch and help with improving your client retention.
Reward your clients for staying with you over longer periods of time. Let them know you’re grateful for their business and for the relationship you have with them.
This doesn’t have to be something elaborate, I would never suggest offering ‘loyalty discounts’ but just a small something that lets them know they’re appreciated can go a long way.
7. High performance standards
As your practice grows and you begin to delegate more of the client work, you need to ensure that all of the work completed for your clients is done to the highest standard.
This means you need to guarantee everyone in your team follows suit and completes everything to the very best of their ability. Standard operating procedures (SOP’s) and having a quality control process in place are just some ways to do this.
Create performance standards for all types of work and review these regularly with your team to identify areas of improvement.
8. Run seminars or workshops
Seminars and workshops don’t just have to be used for prospects – you can add value to your existing clients experience by running seminars and workshops on different topics that they’ll find useful.
One of my BlackBelt clients successfully runs motivational/mindset workshops for his clients on a quarterly basis and his clients love them!
9. Fire your D grade clients
D class clients are going to be the ones that cost you the most time and money.
Make the decision to fire them early on so that you can invest your time and money more wisely in retaining your higher grade clients.
10. Obsess over superior client service
Customer service has been mentioned in several of the other points here, but it absolutely deserves a point of its own.
Superior client service is paramount to increasing client retention levels.
You need to make sure that your practice and your team create the WOW factor that keeps clients happy.
By focusing on creating an incredible client experience you’ll safeguard your clients, generate referrals and maximise your revenue for years to come.
Want some more ideas on how to improve client retention in your accountancy practice?