For accountancy firms, as with any public-facing business, building and maintaining good customer relationships is vital.
The more clients you attract and the longer they stay with you, the more information you will collect. Being able to quickly access and sort through this information can mean the difference between good and bad customer service.
Whether you have twenty or two hundred clients, one central computerised system is the most effective solution. Whatever the size of your company, investing in a good CRM (customer relationship management) system can make a world of difference.
Focus on client experience
Three qualities of the best customer service are:
- Efficiency – clients really value your ability to complete requests quickly and professionally.
- Good communication – this can mean regular information which is relevant to the client, as well as timely responses to queries.
- Attentiveness – rather than a constant barrage of advice, being sensitive to a client’s specific needs is a valuable quality to offer.
If a client experiences delays in getting their questions answered, if they feel ignored, or if there are mistakes made with their data, even small ones, they may start to lose faith in the credibility of your accountancy firm.
Of course, if you are providing a professional service and have an approachable manner, this can speak for itself. But adopting a good CRM system and integrating all your sources of information can instantly improve all of the elements above.
Maximise your leads
This is especially important when dealing with potential clients, who may not yet have had the chance to use one of your company’s services or deal directly with a partner.
If a potential client interacts with your website or a social media post and this isn’t capitalised on, you could be missing out on new business.
However, if you have CRM software that is integrated with your existing company platforms, you can set up the system to do the initial sales work for you.
With automatic email responses, you can ensure every interested customer has the same quality of introduction to your firm. A potential client might click a link to your website, then later receive a welcoming email with information relating to the page they viewed.
By using a CRM system to automate follow-ups like this, it is much easier to nurture possible business, with potentially very lucrative results.
Everything in sync
Another thing a CRM can give you is the ability to standardise your marketing process across departments. This can help prevent miscommunications and ensure that the client has a uniform experience.
Any repeats, gaps or inconsistencies in information can start to make your firm look unprofessional, even if these aren’t serious errors. Simple mistakes like this can be eradicated through the use of a CRM.
When information is stored in several locations, it is far easier to overlook making important updates to certain files or spreadsheets. Your colleagues may be accessing incorrect data and then communicating this to clients.
However, if your information is all stored in one central location, this can be kept up to date far more easily. You can also be certain that everyone knows where to find necessary data.
And if you create a structured sales process, with automated marketing and reminder emails, you ensure all your clients are given the correct information in a consistent format.
Make your life easier
One central system is also invaluable when members of the team are away on holiday. If a client has a specific question, and the relevant information is stored only in the brain of the colleague who is away on a beach somewhere, it can mean delays in getting an answer.
However, if all client data is stored in your central CRM system, any member of staff can access it and respond to the query immediately.
As well as improving the client experience, good CRM can impact your whole firm’s way of working and lead to a less stressful office environment.
Frustrations associated with poor communication can be ironed out by giving the appropriate people equal access to information. In addition, everyone can benefit from the extra time freed up by an automated system.
Tailor your services
Both new and established customers can benefit from good CRM. One key benefit of this kind of system is that it allows you to group your clients depending on their needs.
A newer client may require more sales-based communication than long standing clients, in order to persuade them to continue to use your services. A CRM system can allow you to quickly find these customers and send them the appropriate material at the right times.
By identifying where a client is on their journey with your company, it is far easier to understand their specific requirements and tailor your offer to them.
Small details like this can really make a huge difference to a customer’s experience of dealing with your firm. If clients find accessing your services a smooth and easy process, they are far more likely to come back.
They will also be more inclined to give good feedback or recommend your company to friends and colleagues.
Organisation is key
Providing a great customer experience isn’t only about the face-to-face interactions, the meetings and phone calls.
For clients, it’s also about the details, like being able to ask a question and receive a quick, accurate response. Or feeling that the adapting needs of their business are preempted, rather than being an afterthought.
The background work needed to be able to provide these details is the kind of work you can entrust to your CRM system.
By automating certain aspects of your marketing and making your client data as accessible as possible, this leaves you more room to focus on what you do best: providing quality personalised accounting services.
Read our new ‘Beginner’s guide to CRM for accountants‘ which will help you explore your CRM system in more depth.