When CPAs meet with clients they tend to focus more on service delivery and not general customer service. To differentiate themselves within the field, CPAs can develop distinct skills to impress and retain customers.
Importance of customer service in accounting
A successful CPA views the customer's problem comprehensively by listening to and analyzing their queries. They have all the necessary skills they need to be successful in helping individuals, businesses, and other organizations reach their financial goals. But often times, CPAs overlook customer service.
With a growing need for preparing reports for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), representing clients in front of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and other administrative tasks, customers look for CPA firms that deliver excellent customer service. Here are a few ways how good customer service can contribute to growing a CPA’s business and career:
1. Break down communication barriers
CPAs should develop soft skills so customers feel more open to discuss their problems. These accountants should always answer customer's calls so that they don’t ever feel alienated. Use customers’ preferred mode of communication (texting, email, phone call, social media, etc.) in order to connect with them. This demonstrates that you respect their time and convenience, and shows you pay attention to their needs.
2. Let your clients speak
Clients seldom get the opportunity to speak during meetings. The meetings are often controlled by the CPA and include going over paperwork and pressing matters. Give customers a chance to express how your services and initiatives help them with their taxes or improve their productivity. Give them an opportunity to present their questions and feelings about what you're helping them with. This allows your customers feel a personal connection to you.
3. Become their trusted financial advisor
Customers seek various sources to obtain professional advice on accounting, tax planning, and other financial decisions. If you can direct them toward the right sources of information, customers will look to you every time they make these decisions. It is a great way of building trust among customers and creating repeat customers. By giving out good referrals, you'll also receive more referral business yourself in return.
4. Ask for their feedback
Some CPAs may appear pretentious or condescending to customers while providing services. To avoid this, ask for customer feedback to understand where you lack and what you can do to improve your services. You can ask for feedback through online surveys in emails, in customer newsletters, or phone calls. You could even entice customers to take surveys by offering a prize drawing for gift cards or deals on their bills.
Disarm your customers with superior customer service
Despite your great aptitude in accounting, poor customer service often becomes the bone of contention among customers. Customers seek personalized care which will differentiate you from your competitors. Breaking communication barriers, listening to them, advising them, and seeking customer feedback are steps you must take to improve your customer service.
One way CPAs can enhance their customer service is by using an accounting answering service. It is efficient, cost-effective, and convenient. Customers experience superior call quality from professionally trained virtual receptionists who can screen calls, take messages, and answer phones 24/7. Ultimately, the great customer service your clients receive from the answering service will help you in building long-term relationships with your customers.
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