10 Tips in Establishing and Maintaining a Healthy Client Connection
Last week we discussed securing clients with effective follow-up calls. Your job isn’t over once that prospect joins your clientele; you must continually manage client relationships in order to ensure customer satisfaction and a good working rapport. This doesn’t need to take a lot of time, but you must continually be aware of your current standing with clients and take measures as necessary. In this series we will discuss 10 things to remember when managing client relationships. This week we will cover 5 of those tips:
1. Determine client expectations upfront
Many of your clients may not have worked with an accountant or bookkeeper before and are unsure what to expect. The rest have and may be running on old expectations. It’s important to have a preliminary meeting where you define the relationship and your expectations, taking special note of what your clients expect from you. You may need to negotiate some of these expectations so that both you and your client are satisfied.
2. Have a contract with clear specifications
You shouldn’t perform any services for a client until he or she has signed a contract detailing the specifications of your working relationship. And don’t allow a client to sign a contract blindly. Verbally discuss some of those specifications that will influence your future interactions. For example, if your contract covers specific services, and you plan on charging for any additional services not specified in your initial agreement, tell the client that upfront. This is one key step in establishing a healthy relationship with your client, and it’s much easier to establish a healthy relationship than it is to fix an unhealthy one.
3. Establish and honor boundaries
You must establish and honor your boundaries with a client. This includes work hours and communication. Once you establish these “rules” with a client it’s important that you consistently follow them yourself. For example, consider your work hours. Obviously emergencies happen, and your clients should know how to reach you in such circumstances. But otherwise you need to do all you can to ensure your boundaries are respected. This means you shouldn’t answer your phone after hours.
4. Communicate often
You should establish a method of regularly reporting to your clients in order to distribute key accounting data and inform them of any red flags or key indicators they should be aware of. Discuss a method that appeals to both of you. Some may prefer email while others would like a verbal report over the phone. Whatever the case, you should not be afraid to communicate frequently if the information requires it.
5. Keep your promises
If you tell a client that you will submit a monthly report before the first week of the following month, don’t be late. Your ability to follow through on your promises is not only a reflection of your professionalism but an expression of respect for your client.
Your ability to effectively manage client relationships can determine just how successful your business will be. Without a clientele your business will fail; ensuring client satisfaction can come in applying these 10 tips for establishing and maintaining a healthy client connection.
Return next week when we cover the final 5 tips in effectively managing client relationships:
6. Maintain professionalism
7. Resolve conflict quickly
8. Request feedback
9. Remember your client is your best marketing agent
10. Part ways, when absolutely necessary
Grow Your Practice with Expertise and Marketing Know-How
There are a handful of ways you can improve your business, and only some of them will work. We suggest growing your business by enhancing your expertise and your marketing skills.
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