Managing Client Relationships (Part Two of a Two Part Series)

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10 Tips in Establishing and Maintaining a Healthy Client Connection

client-relationships-2In this two-part series we’re examining the significance of effectively managing client relationships.  Not only will this help you retain current clients (which is much more economical than marketing for new ones), but it will improve word-of-mouth marketing, which is often the most effective (and inexpensive) type there is.  In last week’s article we discussed five of 10 techniques that will help you establish and maintain a healthy client connection:

1.    Determine client expectations upfront

2.    Have a contract with clear specifications

3.    Follow your own rules

4.    Communicate often

5.    Keep your promises

This week we’ll cover the final five:

6. Maintain professionalism

Your clients are paying for professional service and you must act the part.  While it’s natural to become a client’s friend, you should still dress and act appropriately.  Beware of becoming too casual in your interactions; you want your clients to know that you are, above all, a dedicated and responsible accountant.

7. Resolve conflict quickly

In all long-term professional relationships, there’s bound to be misunderstandings and disagreements.  The important thing is not that they exist but that you resolve them as quickly as possible.  The longer you let discontent remain, the more difficult it becomes to work through it.  Acknowledge the conflict promptly and secure a reasonable solution for both parties in a timely manner.  While this may require compromise, it’s important that you demonstrate that maintaining a healthy relationship with the client in a priority for you and your practice.

8. Request feedback

Your clients are a valuable source of information.  They can let you know what you’re doing well, what you need to improve and what you could add to enhance your service offerings.  Depending on what’s most comfortable, you could casually ask for their feedback over lunch, send a quick email request or have them complete an anonymous survey.  Whichever you choose, the information you’ll receive will prove invaluable in building a more successful practice.

9. Remember your client is your best marketing agent

As mentioned previously, word-of-mouth marketing is not only the most effective type, but it’s also the most economical.  You pay for this marketing technique by providing superior customer service.  Return calls quickly, respond to your clients’ needs, and continually aim to provide the most valuable services.

10. Part ways, when absolutely necessary

Sometimes, when you’ve put forth your greatest effort to work through differences, a client relationship will still rocky and, unfortunately, unsalvageable.  If you find that interactions are continually strained, it’s probably best if you part ways with a client.  While this may be difficult, in the end it will save you time and energy.

Visit Universal’s Free Resources

Universal Accounting Center (UAC) would love to see your practice succeed.  That’s why we offer your business the most valuable resources available.  Feel free to take our virtual UAC Tour to learn more about our training programs that will enhance your practice and your bottom line.  Or visit our free accounting and tax resources.  Either way you’ll want to bookmark the UAC site and return continually to improve your business.

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