Earlier this month I ran a training webinar called ‘The Client Care Blueprint’ with the team at FreeAgent.
The Client Care Blueprint is a system I created to help accountancy practices systemise their customer service in today’s digital age so that they can have more ‘human’ touch points, safeguard their clients and increase client satisfaction.
It’s broken down into 3 core components:
- A ‘WOW factor’ new client onboarding process
- Systemised client service packages based on client grades
- Ongoing client education strategy
The point that seemed to generate the most discussion was #3 ongoing client education strategy which is why I decided to write this article explaining a little more about it.
In a nutshell, a client education strategy is about empowering your clients with knowledge and insights in order to help them understand how to maximise the value they get from your service.
So, what are the benefits of a client education strategy?
Having a system in place for regularly educating your clients about your services and how they work can have a number of benefits for your accountancy practice.
1. It builds further trust
By taking the time to explain how clients can get the most out of your services, it shows that you’re not just in it for the sale and are in fact interested in helping them achieve as much as possible.
It also acts as a great service differentiator compared to other practices.
2. It reduces client questions/complaints
One of the biggest time vampires for practice owners and their teams are the constant questions, queries (and sometimes complaints) coming in from clients.
By having an ongoing client education strategy, you might find that questions are answered before they even become questions.
Take for example MTD – for the proactive practices who are educating their clients about this now, they will have much fewer questions down the line, saving them and their team time.
Clients will also become much better at knowing where to look for answers without having to ask you. For example, if they know where to go in Xero/Quickbooks to get some figures for a meeting, they won’t need to contact you.
3. It increases client loyalty
A combination of both points above will inevitably lead to an increase in client loyalty.
They’ll trust that you want the best for them, and your relationship with them will be much deeper as a result.
Increased client loyalty will then lead to maximised revenue for your practice.
What should you be educating your clients about?
I think that client education can be broken down into 2 main categories:
1. How to get the most out of the services they’re currently using
For example, if your clients are currently using cloud accounting software e.g. Xero or Quickbooks, are they fully utilising everything that it offers to help them in their business?
Or perhaps they’re not providing their information to you in a way that’s most efficient. By educating them on alternative ways, you can save them time, and save yourself some in the process.
2. What other services you offer and how other clients are benefiting
Unless you educate your clients about all of the services that you offer, they aren’t going to know how they can benefit from them.
Sharing client success stories is a great way of showcasing how other clients have benefited from additional services in a credible way.
This isn’t about trying to sell as much as possible – it’s about educating the client around all of the different ways you can help make their lives better and easier.
How can you educate your clients?
Ideally, you want to educate your clients in a leveraged way that isn’t too time intensive for you and your team.
This can be achieved in 2 main ways:
1. Creating & sharing content
One of my favourite books at the moment which I’ve been recommending to all my clients is ‘They Ask, You Answer’ by Marcus Sheridan.
It’s all about creating content based on the common (and uncommon) questions that you clients and prospects ask every day.
This kind of education can often pre-empt client questions – making you proactive vs. reactive.
One of the things I want to start looking at for my accountancy practice is building a private client site where we host a library of training videos, articles and resources to help make their lives as easy as possible.
2. Running workshops and events
Without a doubt this is the most valuable method of educating clients.
Not only does it allow you to build more of a relationship, it also gives them the opportunity to network with some of your other clients.
Depending on the content and duration of these events it may even be something you can charge a fee for attendance.
The more successful they become, you more successful you’ll become
Implementing a client education strategy is a fantastic opportunity for practices to build deeper relationships with their clients, educate them about what’s possible and help them achieve more as a result.
Ultimately, the more successful your clients’ businesses become, the more successful your business will become as a result.