What Is Customer Experience in the Accounting World?

With customer experience (CX) being emphasized as a driver of success, businesses across the industries shouldn’t sleep or pass on the opportunity to make the most of it. Differentiated from customer service which resolves issues, helps solve customer issues and offer advice, CX represents the accurate perception of the interactions customers have with your company. It’s a real competitive advantage that can attract loyal clients and boost revenue when leveraged to the maximum. 

 

Occurring from the very first touchpoint with your firm up until the last minute of the interaction, CX ensures that the customer journey is as seamless as possible. This is particularly relevant to the accounting realm where technological innovations tend to automate the tasks of accountants, bookkeepers and tax preparers like data entry. When the ‘wow’ element in accounting is lost, focusing on providing the best customer experience helps bring it back. 

 

To connect with your customers beyond helping to manage debits and credits, consider reevaluating how you approach the following activities:

1. Collecting and analyzing data

Gaining clear insight into the collected data isn’t just about analyzing the performance of a company. It’s also about observing what areas from the entire data collection process are contributing to engagement and a satisfactory customer experience. When the customer has a positive perception of his experience with the help of your services, they are more likely to use it to make more informed business decisions. 

 

An efficient data analysis system is instrumental to meeting your customers’ needs. Although the connection might seem indirect at first, systemizing the inflow of accounting data guarantees a happy repeat customer. 

2. Streamlining billing and invoicing

No one likes to deal with the complexity of payments. If a customer notices that the accounting firm they are doing business with isn’t being efficient with billing and invoicing, they may quickly switch to another company. This is because when money is on the line, customers are typically less forgiving of mistakes that companies make. 

 

To avoid disappointing those who keep you in business, you should be the example and  streamline the payment process of sending and receiving the financial documents. This way, you’re minimizing the number of miscalculations and other errors that would cost you time, money, and the customer.         

3. Ensuring data privacy        

Research by Salesforce found that 46% of customers feel like they don’t have control over their personal data anymore. The more clients become concerned with how their data is handled by companies they purchase from, the higher the pressure on businesses to be transparent about their customer data usage. In accounting, the question of data privacy is of utmost concern. 

 

Since web transactions are prone to hacking, companies should focus on adopting accounting software that guarantees the security of customer data. This will help prevent customers’ identities and money from being stolen and a terrible customer experience from driving clients away from you.       

4. Expanding advisory services 

It’s difficult to improve customer retention if your customer experience is lacking. To remain competitive on the market with an abundance of accounting, bookkeeping and tax firms, you should invest in offering the CFO & advisory services you can provide in addition to the quality accounting services you do now. (if you aren’t already). With the global accounting services market forecasted to reach $735.94 billion in 2025, it’s only fair to expect this to be a competitive advantage that will make you stand out. 

 

Besides, offering advice to business owners who often feel in the dark when navigating their financials leads to happy clients and a satisfactory customer experience. Whether you focus on coaching your clients on when to purchase assets or giving a fresh perspective on the old ways they’re handling their finances, you’re likely to get positive feedback. 

5. Onboarding clients

One of the most overlooked areas for improving customer experience is paying more attention to onboarding clients. This process helps both parties determine the first steps of the collaboration and what information would make it as smooth as possible. 

 

To ensure that the onboarding process meets the customer’s needs as much as the goals of the accounting firm, you should have a predefined scope checklist in place. Featuring statements like ‘add the client to the newsletter’, ‘schedule a follow-up a week after the initial meeting’, and ‘get documentation from the client’, it acts as a guiding tool that ensures that the needs of both the business and the customer are fully met.      

6. Providing omni-channel communication

A multichannel approach to customers is key to building strong customer relationships. It empowers customer service staff to use various messaging platforms to reach the customer and provide him with a solution. There are also several more ways to enhance communication with clients for an optimal customer experience:

 

  • Ensure that the customers’ files are stored securely 
  • Schedule an automatic request reminder system for following up with customers 
  • Offer a digital portal that makes uploading files quick and easy 

 

When every communication element is in check, you’re bound to improve your customer satisfaction score as well as your Net Promoter Score. It might not be an instant hit — there’s no one-size-fits-all solution — but with time, you’ll get a gist of what communication channels your customers prefer and be able to cater to them accordingly.    

 

In short, at least consider responding in kind, which is to say reaching back using the same medium originally used by the customer such as a call for call, text with text, email with an email.

7. Offering self-service tools

Automating customer service isn’t just an option — it’s a necessity. Although you don’t have to have an automation-based solution to every step of the customer service you provide, it takes some weight off of you when you allow customers to figure things out on their own. Besides, 67% of customers prefer to use self-service tools instead of talking to a customer service agent. 

 

Chances are, you already have a comprehensive FAQ page on your website where your customers can find answers to the most commonly asked questions. But you can take it a step further and start a blog with more in-depth information on the topics that are relevant to your clients. The best part is that it’s available 24/7, and there are no hidden costs involved. 

Wrapping up

Remaining flexible when offering customer service is an underestimated but determining factor in whether or not the customer experience your customers get is up to par with their ever-changing expectations. With technology enabling the automation of many tasks, business owners can now rely on software to help keep customer data safe and transactions secure.  For more information, attend this webinar dedicated to helping accounting professionals utilize effective client retention management (CRM) systems and more.  Register NOW!

 

Polish your customer management strategy and be willing to tweak it if the demand calls for it. This way, you’ll be able to stay competitive and boost your customer retention rate like never before. 

Customer Relationship Management Tricks for Running a Small Business

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has changed the face of online business. People using it for their businesses have doubled their sales. People are of the view that CRM software and its strategies are only for large businesses. That is a misconception. CRM can help any business prosper, no matter what its size is. 

Rachel Miller says, “No business, whatever its size, cannot afford to ignore customer relationship management. At its simplest, it is a method of record-keeping that ensures nothing slips through the net. It could be a spreadsheet of contacts, a simple database, or a tailor-made system”.

CRM software will only be effective if you have the full knowledge about it. We are going to enlist the most effective tricks that are useful for running a small business, specifically an accounting business. (for more information watch this accounting specific CRM webinar)

CRM Strategy

CRM is not useful for a business if it is used without a plan. To make your business prosper, it has to be made a part of your overall business strategy. The company that is incorporating CRM needs to be clear about why they are using CRM. A perfect CRM strategy helps in boosting quality, cutting costs, and raising sales.

CRM Can’t Fix Everything

Tools that come with CRM software are effective, but these tools can’t fix everything. The problems occurring in the selling process are not because of the tools. People who are using these tools have to be on their toes. Employees need to be diligent, and then the tool will be able to do what it does best.

1. Update Customer Information

People who use CRM should be attentive and bring up to the current state of users’ information. If the user address, company name, contact method, and so are changed, the working group should note that quickly and report information.

2. Learn From Analytics

CRM helps in analyzing the trends and behaviors of customers. If a spike is recorded in the sales of real estate properties during a certain time, the business should manage to advertise as many real estate properties as possible on your website for the next year. If some email campaigns were successful, try to figure out the factors of their effectiveness and try to reproduce them.

Customer data should also be used to plan your marketing and sales pitches. Personal information of a customer can help a salesperson in closing a deal. Learn from your results; otherwise, CRM won’t be effective.

3. Automate Processes

Tools that come with CRM can help in reducing time-consuming and repetitive tasks. For example, when a new customer is added to the database, CRM will send follow-up emails; give promotions to keep your business at the forefront of their attention. 

4. Don’t Look for the Perfect CRM

There is no perfect CRM. CRM cannot fulfill your wishes; it is simply a tool that can help you achieve your goals more efficiently. In short, CRM is simply a tool, and how you execute it matters the most.  You must realize that not every person will get his desired results. Innovative ideas can bring your business customer satisfaction, minimum costs, and provide better customer experiences, but CRM strategies can fail if not executed correctly.

5. Use Mobile CRM

Cloud base CRM on mobile is a wise option. It allows you to access data from anywhere, anytime. Suppose if the sales representative is a creative person and is mostly out of the home. In that case, this will work very well because it will increase their productivity and access the customer information.

6. Focus On Processes Rather Than Technology

CRM is more about making customer-centric internal and external business processes in an undertaking. Represent the customer getting support flow. The structures are just those giving power and not an end in them.

7. Expert-Level Support

Training is essential for user acceptance. If your staff is not trained, they cannot use it effectively. User acceptance is the most crucial success factor for a CRM system. Invest in the training to achieve your business objectives.

8. Share The CRM Access With Your Team

Share the access to CRM software with the key members of your team so they can get benefit from it. For example, if it’s a client’s birthday, that information might be useful for the salesperson that is looking for a reason to reach out to that customer.

CRM keeps running history or activity logs on your records. That way, everyone who has access to the CRM can see the data of each customer.

9. Use Industry-Specific CRM

It is best to use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that is specifically designed for an industry as it will have more useful features. Therefore, if you have a small accounting, bookkeeping and/or tax business it is best to identify a CRM that is specific to the accounting industry rather than a generic one. Similarly, an Ecommerce CRM will be better for an eCommerce company, and so on.

10. Regular Housekeeping

Chances of redundancy are there even if your Customer Relationship Management is regularly updated. It is easy for duplicate entries to slip in or become out of date. Do regular housekeeping at least once a month to look for information that needs fixing. Housekeeping ensures that you and your team have reliable information on hand all the time.

11. Keep Task List Updated

CRM helps you to automate your processes. But it is also important to update the list of tasks that are automated. This is important for a business as the strategy of your business can change with time. 

12. Familiarize Yourself with the CRM

CRM is only effective if you have complete knowledge about it. We live in a fast-growing world; so many people don’t have time for reading guidelines or getting training. This results in sloppiness and non-effectiveness of your CRM.

Update your CRM periodically to incorporate all the new features. We advise you to walk up to the manager and get the training to use the new tools. Acquaintance with your CRM will keep your business organized.

Now You Know the Best CRM Tips for a Small Business

We have enlisted all the CRM tips that will help your business. Implementing every tip will certainly boost the sales of your business. It is the need of the hour. To stand out in this fast-paced community, your business strategies should be as creative as possible. 

Author Bio:

Ashir provides ghostwriting and copywriting services. His educational background in the technical field and business studies helps him in tackling topics ranging from career and business productivity to web development and digital marketing. He occasionally writes articles for Real Estate CRM

Why is Bookkeeping Important?

The absence of bookkeeping in a business is like a road without signs because you’re likely to arrive at a different place than intended. Any large business learned the value of financial records produced by bookkeepers is crucial for proper management.

Bookkeeping is essential to every business for both financial and legal reasons. Without record keeping, it is difficult to get a business loan, and impossible to do taxes. Even more importantly, without the information that bookkeeping provides, wise decision-making is tricky and can lead to disastrous conditions.

There is a close correlation of success with those that realized the importance of bookkeeping and those that did not. Those that thought bookkeeping was an unnecessary luxury judged the success of their business by the amount of money in their bank account. Their thinking was “If I have money, I must be doing well.” That assumption, all too often, caused them to always be in the “fire-fighting” mode of management. Unfortunately, a lack of a bookkeeping system would end disastrously for the owner, with mortgages on their home, and bill-collectors hassling them. It even led to bankruptcy too many times.

Certainly, bookkeeping does not guarantee success. Nor is it all that is needed. Yet it leads us to information that can help us make well-informed decisions. Allen Bostrom, in his book “In the Black”, states “You hear a lot about the importance of making decisions based on data. What I have learned is that decisions should be based on wisdom, not necessarily data alone.” He goes on by describing the Wisdom Pyramid which is a triangular shape with “Data” at the bottom and topped by “Wisdom”. In other words, data leads to information, information leads to knowledge, and knowledge leads to wisdom.

In summary, the difference between achieving entrepreneurial dreams and disaster for a small business owner is often based on their appreciation or lack of appreciation for the information coming from a bookkeeping system.

Donna Parsons, A career worth pursing, and now she has a successful bookkeeping business

Donna Parsons started young and walked the path to become an accounting professional. Following a traditional path she attended school to receive her degrees and then employment. Soon the desire was intense enough to act and start her accounting business.

First she started with a few clients supplementing her income and then it was too much to resist so she quit and went full-time. Now she is “all in” and things are good.

Donna is both happy and busy.

Take a moment and hear her story and what insights she has to share.

Consider having your own successful accounting business:

Accounting Firm Business Model

Get the confidence to offer quality accounting services:

Accountant Certification Programs

Get the support you need to be in business for yourself but not by yourself:

Power Coaching & Training Program

Consider the success stories of so many others:

Success Stories

Why Bookkeeping Courses Lead to Great Work From Home Jobs

How a Bookkeeping Course Can Enable You to Work From Home

A professional bookkeeping career can be both lucrative and rewarding, especially if you take the time to investigate available bookkeeping courses online that could empower you to be your own boss and work from home. Every business in the United States, big or small, needs an accurate and detailed set of financial books. While many companies have in-house accounting teams, other businesses may outsource their bookkeeping to professional bookkeepers, many of whom work from home.

Whether you already work as a bookkeeper or want to start a new career, the right bookkeeping courses online can streamline your career path and help you build the accounting career you’ve always wanted. If working from home sounds like an attractive way to build your bookkeeping experience, consider how online bookkeeping courses can help.

 

Why You Should Consider Bookkeeping Courses Online

Establishing yourself as a professional bookkeeper and finding employment opportunities is more difficult than you might expect without the proper qualifications. Completing typical courses at a local school while maintaining your current job can be extremely challenging, especially if you have a family. Bookkeeping classes online can make it easier to obtain the qualifications for the type of job you want to have in the future; you can complete your coursework in a matter of weeks instead of months.

Online courses from Universal Accounting are streamlined and flexible enough to fit your current schedule, but robust enough to provide with the tools and guidance to build a professional bookkeeping business you can manage from the comfort of your home. The freedom and flexibility that come with working as a professional bookkeeper from home does mean more responsibility than you typically would have at a corporate accounting department or as an in-house bookkeeper for a local business. However, Universal Accounting offers a streamlined introduction to the tools and skills you need to manage your home bookkeeping practice effectively.

Time is another critical factor for many modern accounting professionals. Bookkeeping classes online from Universal Accounting offer you the ability to complete your Professional Bookkeeper certification in weeks instead of months, further streamlining your career path and making your services more attractive to potential clients.

 

Benefits of Working From Home

Modern technology has made telecommunication more feasible than ever before for professionals in various industries. This new trend of remote work not only allows employees to enjoy more flexibility in their day-to-day work, but also provides employers with a vastly larger pool of talented individuals who can work remotely. Bookkeeping is no different, and many professional bookkeepers are opting for working from home in lieu of traditional employment with a nine-to-five schedule.

The accounting world will continue to grow and provide invaluable services to countless other industries, but the professionals working in the accounting industry will forge new career paths and develop new ways to work on their own terms. Remote work can be incredibly rewarding with the right training and guidance. If you to pursue a career in professional bookkeeping but do not relish the thought of a nine-to-five shift in an office setting, developing your own bookkeeping practice from home could be the ideal solution. Working from home as a professional bookkeeper offers several tangible benefits:

  • Flexibility in your workdays. You get to decide what days you work, how many hours each day you want to work, and when you want to take off. There’s no need to navigate paid time off rules or use up vacation time when you need a break; simply let your clients know when you’re available.
  • Freedom to be your own boss. Working in any type of corporate structure can feel oppressive at times, and micromanagement from supervisors can diminish enthusiasm and degrade the quality of any professional’s work. When you are your own boss, the responsibility of fulfilling your clients’ needs comes with the ability of completing your work on your own terms.
  • Easier work-life balance. Working from home is especially beneficial to young professionals with families and young children. You could potentially save thousands of dollars each year in childcare costs by working from home while caring for your kids.
  • Minimal overhead. All you need to run a successful bookkeeping practice out of your home office space, a comfortable place to meet with clients if you plan to have face-to-face meetings, and the ability to manage your own business finances and marketing. You won’t need to worry about interviewing, hiring, training, or payroll for additional staff until your business grows large enough to need them, and only if you want them.
  • Virtually unlimited potential to grow your practice. Do you prefer a small, easy-to-manage list of dedicated clients or do you dream of building a full-fledged accounting company of your own? Bookkeeping courses online can empower you to grow your business in almost any direction.

Flexibility and freedom are the biggest benefits to working from home in any field. Professional bookkeepers who complete the online classes available from Universal Accounting not only obtain the certifications they need to attract new business and serve their clients effectively, but also the tools necessary for attracting new clients, managing their operating expenses, and growing their practices.

 

Enhance Your Professional Bookkeeping Career With Online Courses

Universal Accounting offers a multi-module program aimed at providing students with Professional Bookkeeper certification and a full range of tools to empower them for the future. Working from home not only offers comfort and convenience for everyday work but can also become the groundwork for a successful and lucrative business in professional accounting services.

Whether you plan on building a comfortable side job for extra income or want to take your home bookkeeping business to the next level and grow your own accounting firm from the ground up, the online courses available from Universal Accounting provide you with the tools you will need for professional bookkeeping success.

Universal Accounting provides a streamlined Professional Bookkeeper course that provides you with the certification and training to attract and retain new business as well as guidance for marketing your business, managing your operating budget, and developing new techniques for handling customer issues. If you’re interested in a flexible and robust Professional Bookkeeper certification course you can take online, contact Universal Accounting today at (877) 833-7909 for more information.

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