Ah, Valentine’s Day. It was a day to show your love and affection for someone special in your life. But are your clients part of the celebration? Most of you probably say no, but I argue that they should be. Now, I’m not suggesting you run over to Walgreen’s and get some Charlie Brown valentine cards. Rather, I was thinking about your approach as you deliver tax returns this tax season.
Many of your top clients pay a premium for the service experience you deliver. That is, they can get their work done by another firm (usually for less) but choose to stay with you for a variety of reasons. Many of these reasons come down to the service experience of working with you. Technically, they “need” these compliance services, but what they “want” is an experience that makes them feel like a highly-valued client.
In today's technology-driven world, it's easy to send a tax return via the portal with a nice accompanying email with some instructions and asks if they have any questions. While efficient for you, it doesn’t convey the feeling of being valued. It actually conveys the feeling of, “I’m going to get this to you in the easiest way possible for me and get on to my next task.” And this is a risky way to proceed with a top client, let alone any valued client.
Here’s a better way to show some love: Choose 10 top clients this year for whom you will choose to offer a more loving service experience. Then, do these three things for each client:
- Set a 15-minute phone appointment to go over the deliverables. This will show the client that you care enough that they understand the tax return.
- Choose three things to talk about that were different from last month or year, updated/changed, or otherwise notable. A great item for this discussion could be how you reduced their tax liability, or how the new tax law may affect the client in the future. This will demonstrate to the client you are paying attention to the details.
- Finally, ask three questions about the client to get to know them better. Ask about upcoming vacation plans, their family, their job or goals for their company. This will give you items for future follow-up and possible additional projects. This demonstrates to the client that above all, you care. (Plus you can follow-up in May or June to continue the conversation.)
Combined, these are relatively easy things to execute on your end, but they mean so much to your clients and will truly make them feel valued. This approach could make them less fee-sensitive and may even generate additional work down the road. I’m only asking that you do this for your top 10 clients this year, but I will also tell you that I know accountants who do this for each and every client. So, the next time you think of Valentine’s Day, let that be a reminder for you to show some love to your clients, too.