What’s Your Target?
Knowing What Your Clients Really Want
The Bay Street Group is a firm that provides accounting and tax professionals with expertise in marketing, management, and strategy. In 2007 they performed a survey intent on finding out what clients really want from financial specialists. They received feedback from 1,799 accountants, financial advisors and CPAs from all sectors of the profession. 45% surveyed work in an office with 1-10 individuals.The survey uncovered a gap between what financial professionals think their clients want and what their clients actually say they want. For example, 77% of accountants surveyed said they think that the majority (if not all) of their clients would recommend their services, while only 55% of their clients would actually do that.
What Clients Really Want
82% of clients surveyed said they might change accountants or firms if they got a good referral. You don’t want to be that accountant that looses a client because you weren’t aware of their real needs. The survey found that when clients choose an accountant or firm they are most interested in good service and attentiveness, the quality and reputation of the firm, and the accuracy of their work.
Good service and attentiveness. Clients want to feel valued, and that occurs when you practice good customer service. This can be achieved by treating each customer with respect, keeping all your promises, responding immediately to complaints, practicing good communication, and going above and beyond the call of duty. When you attend to your clients’ needs, they will know that you value their patronage. One accountant explained that they are most effective when they “worr[y] more about satisfying existing clients than obtaining new ones.” Another explained, “We can ask them how we are doing and what we can be doing better. Being proactive is the best approach to keeping strong client relationships.”Quality and reputation of the accountant and/or firm. Remember that 82% of clients surveyed said they would switch accountants if they got a solid referral. Word-of-mouth marketing is still the most effective, simply because people trust the recommendations of friends and family. And the only way you can benefit from that type of marketing is when you develop a solid reputation. You’ll notice that these three characteristics are closely related; in providing attentiveness, good service and accurate work, you build a firm reputation that will get you countless referrals.Accuracy of work. Good accountants recognize that their reputation depends on the accuracy of their work. It’s all about numbers, and when the numbers are incorrect, your reputation, and your clients’ business, are at risk. Your job is to help your clients enjoy profitability, and if your work is inaccurate, that can never be accomplished.Miscellaneous. 40% or more of clients surveyed said they’re also interested in the following: affordability of services (67%), proactive advice and consultation (63%), specific understanding of their industry (56%), specific understanding of business (51%), problem-solving ability (44%), and personal chemistry (42%).
Reevaluate what you think your clients need, because you may be wrong. This survey indicates a significant gap in what clients need and what clients are actually getting. It’s important to do what you can to retain you current client base; remember, it’s 10 times more costly to attract a new client than it is to retain an existing one. So look at what you can do to improve service for your customers, because you’d rather be the one getting more business because of referrals than be the one loosing business because of them.Request More Information here:Accounting and Bookkeeping Information