As a practice owner, it can be very easy to get confused about marketing and all its jargon.
After all, you trained as accountants, not marketers.
Without a doubt, marketing is still an extremely important function of any business and shouldn’t be overlooked. But sometimes, people can spend so much time trying to figure out things like…
- Content marketing
- Social Media
…that as a result, they overlook the best (and most simple) marketing strategy ever…
The best marketing strategy ever for accountancy practices, is to care.
It sounds so simple, and that’s because it is.
If you care about your clients, and care about the results that you get for them, then the impact that will have on the reputation of your practice, is one of the best ‘branding’ exercises you can ever do.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking:
“Of course we care for our clients Rudi, we wouldn’t be in business if we didn’t”
I agree, but this care has to go above and beyond what is considered standard.
It has to be systemised and embedded in the culture of your practice from the moment a prospect arrives in your car park to see their name on a sign, to the moment they’re served a cup of their favourite coffee in your office because you asked what they like in advance, to the moment you give them tickets to see their favourite football team as a thank you for being a loyal client years down the line.
Because when you systemise care, and create a ‘care culture’ like this, your clients will be the greatest marketing asset that you own.
So, how do you go about creating a systemised ‘care’ program for all of your clients?
1. Start by grading your clients
Not all of your clients will want to (or need to) receive the same level of care as others.
Which is why it’s important you create a client grading system to differentiate your A+ clients who will get round the clock care and attention, from your B clients who will still be cared for more than what a standard practice might, but more in line with the type of client they are.
Determine what criteria you will grade your clients by e.g. how profitable the work is, your enjoyment working with them, loyalty as a client, and then put them into one of the following grades: A+, A, B or C.
Depending on the size of your practice, you ideally don’t want any more than 20 clients in your A+ grade.
2. Create a ‘care package’ for each grade
You don’t want your first-class ticket holders flying in economy and vice-versa, so it’s important to create a different care-package for each client grade.
Brainstorm with your team a list of all the different things you can do to go above and beyond in caring for your clients. Once you have the list, assign them to each grade so that you know exactly what your A+ clients should be getting, and exactly what your A, B and C clients should be getting also.
3. Scale with technology
Like any system in a business, you need to be able to scale it in an efficient way (i.e. if 100 new clients walked through the door tomorrow, you’d still be able to scale most or all of it).
And the easiest way to scale a system is to leverage technology and automation.
Think carefully about where you can automate or streamline elements of your care packages and do your research into what software is available.
Creating a care culture
Having a systemised care program is one thing, but building a care culture is the second piece of the puzzle.
You can systemise all you want, but if the team of people using these systems aren’t 100% bought into the concept of client care, they’ll never truly work.
You need to have a completely client-centric approach to everything that you do.
Spend time training (and retraining) your team on the importance of what you’re doing. Don’t leave them in silos where they just do work, allow them to see the bigger picture of how you help your clients to achieve their business and personal goals.
And as cliché as it sounds, you also need to get them to buy into the vision and beliefs of your practice, and communicate these on a regular basis (not just on day 1 when they join).
What do you think?
Do you agree that caring is the best marketing strategy for any accountancy practice?
Who has already spent time systemising their client care and is seeing great results?
I truly believe that in the next few years, caring and customer service will not only help accountancy practices grow, they’ll also be the key differentiating factor between each other.