How to turn seasonal business into a consistent stream of revenue
Here’s what we all know: Tax businesses are seasonal. And while successful tax professionals find themselves with a surplus of business from January to April, the months of May to December are way too light. But with the right mindset and management, tax professionals can turn a flood of seasonal customers into year-over-year recurring revenue. The key to continuous customers is to maintain communication and identify the many ways you can provide additional assistance. Below are the year-long efforts every tax professional and service firm should establish and maintain for continuous customer retention:
Be purposeful and provide value in every communication. Sending birthday or holiday greetings is an important business nicety but isn’t business development. Implement an off-season customer communication strategy, sharing valuable, helpful and easy-to-digest information about the tax landscape. And whenever possible, customize it so you are updating customers about issues that impact their situation (such as filing status change, a new small business or baby) and let them know you’re available and able to assist with these changes, which could affect their tax liability. From May to December, always communicate information that demonstrates your value. The off-season is also the time to assist customers with services beyond “once-a-year” tax filing; perhaps this is suggesting a service for bookkeeping, payroll, broad-based financial/investment services, insurance or real estate, which are in demand throughout the year.
Leverage technology and social media to inform and update. Email newsletters, website blogs and social media posts are effective, flexible and highly scalable forms of communication. Keep your online channels operating smoothly with frequent updates on economic and regulatory developments, filing dates, specials, referral offers and other items of interest.
Survey your customers and prospects. Customer questionnaires and surveys can be easily implemented using social media or other online channels. They have immense value for gathering customer insights and helping to make informed decisions on future outreach. For the highest response rate, a survey should be short enough to complete in a matter of minutes (limit questions to 10 or fewer) and offer incentives for completing the survey. Just as importantly, don’t leave respondents hanging. A survey should be the start of a conversation with your customers, not the end of it, so if the customer requests you get back to them, do so quickly. When anonymous, provide a page with a personal thank-you with any requested resources and contact information.
During the off-season, it’s especially easy for your customers to lose sight of your services, and for this reason the months of May through December should be used for maintaining relevant, compelling and personal contact with them. Transforming one-time customers into repeat customers requires considerable commitment to thoughtful communication. Staying top-of-mind is the first step to keeping your customers coming back and will be an investment that can pay significant dividends in years to come.