My name is Lee Ann Collins, managing partner of Lane Gorman Trubitt, (LGT), a public accounting firm in Dallas, and this job is keeping me up at night.
This month, client loyalty is keeping me up. I woke up from a nightmare in which the firm’s clients were all going to a competitor because they were giving away moose-shaped stress toys. I woke chuckling about my absurd nightmare and assured myself that our clients keep coming back because we keep taking care of them.
Fortunately, it is not just give-aways at conferences that keep our name at the top of our client’s list. We lean into our message of education and excellence and continue to provide our clients with a quality experience. How do we, as an accounting firm, do this? With a lot of thought and consideration.
Clients are People not Numbers
It is easy when dealing with clients to forget that they are not just numbers in a database. The best way to build client trust is a traditional one-on-one relationship with them. The value of a business lunch or a happy hour drink cannot be overstated. We want our clients and their companies to succeed, and the best way to do that is to know who they are and what they value. A friendly meeting with a client to check in with them can open up opportunities to find out other services that your company can provide for them. I cannot emphasize enough the benefits that a direct relationship with your client can give you.
People also need communities, and by creating a place for them to gather and share experiences about the company is very important. You can do this in a variety of ways:
- Educational events. Providing your clients with ongoing education and updates on not only your specialty but also other topics that can help them build their businesses can make the difference between them staying with you or choosing another company to meet their needs.
- Client-specific events. Hosting a happy hour or sponsoring a community event is a great way to show your clients that you are committed to making their business succeed.
- Social media communities. It can be a Facebook group for your clients or a hashtag behind which your community rallies, but no matter what it is, it is important to monitor it and make sure that your message is being heard and not distorted.
Communicate with Your Clients
Any content you put out into the world is a type of communication with your clients. Make sure that the social media posts, ads, emails, and blog posts are getting a response. Sit down and look at what performs best, and give them more of what they want. Evaluate your emails; are people clicking through enough? If not, evaluate what you can change to engage your clients. The best way to do that is feedback. If a really important post falls flat, reach out to your clients and ask what you could change to make this article more relevant to them.
Encourage a dialogue with your clients and with prospects. If someone replies to a marketing email, thank them and respond as quickly as you can. Finally, manage expectations for your clients. Even though we would all like to deliver the finished product the fastest, this might be detrimental to your client loyalty. A common and critical mistake is overpromising and under-delivering. Customers benefit from a seamless customer service experience. Make sure that you have ironed out all the kinks in your customer service.
Keep Them Coming Back for More
Once new clients are on-boarded, the most important thing now is to continue to be a resource for them. Listening to our clients, meeting their needs, providing repeat staffing where possible, providing additional services as needed, and one on one relationships are the most popular ways for us to do this. But as we’ve learned, always making time to take a phone call or schedule an in-person meeting to make sure that our clients are getting their needs met in our best way to help new clients integrate with our personnel. We like to continue to prove our value at LGT. We address the competition. We know what they are going to offer our clients, and our goal is to offer them more valuable experiences and make emotional connections. We love our clients and want them to thrive alongside us. If their business succeeds, our business is doing its job.