Research and experience show that client retention is vital since it is vastly more expensive to obtain new clients than to retain old ones. The first thing to remember is that when a new client makes a productive and trouble-free purchase from you, a bond between your organization and your new client is automatically forged. This is especially true if the client is going to need to make repeated purchases. Unless something goes wrong, the likelihood favors a client remaining with you. Most clients develop a sense of membership or kinship with their accountant/trusted advisor. It is almost like the client develops a stake in your business. On the other hand, for a long time after the tentative bond is formed, your company remains on probation in their affections.
The relationship between a client and a trusted advisor is part of basic business education and client retention. There are three fundamental principles involved in generating a good relationship with clients.
1). The principle of Strategic importance emphasizes that the client-advisor relationship is the most important part of a business. A good relationship increases the profit of the business for the long term. Accountants have to develop strategies to increase client satisfaction thereby improving the relationship between client and advisor.
2). The principle of Trust means that a company has to build a trust relationship with its clients. Trust is maintained when the advisor is predictable in its dealings with clients. Predictable quality services and reliable good customer service will gain a market competency.
3). The principle of Mutual benefit refers to the fact that the main purpose of building a good relationship is that clients and advisors benefit each other. If both parties perceive benefit it leads to an increase in client’s service quality. Through this, the client gains standardized services and the firms gains loyal clients.
Strengthening the relationship.
An advisor benefits by making the contact with a client feel more like a business friendship. Employees who serve clients in person or online must deliver personal service that is receptive and emotionally engaged. It is better if contacts between client and advisor were on a close personal level, by name, and with a consistent respected group of customer service personnel. In the long run, knowing precisely what the client wants and supplying those needs in a knowledgeable and reliable way is more important than having an impressive physical presence.
To maintain a relationship, contacts with clients may be brief and formal, but the client must always feel recognized and welcome. Undemanding and non-soliciting personal contacts like thank you notes and loyalty rewards can help build a sense of stability and continuing interest. Asking clients for input or suggestions gives them a sense of belonging and membership in your enterprise. If the company gives clients a sense that they are valued, not only for purchasers but because they have mutual interests and knowledge, clients will find it hard to move for any but the very strongest of reasons.
The integrity of the company as it is perceived by clients is important for client retention. Clients want relationships with accountants they respect and with whom they sympathize. These impressions are conveyed by a corporate climate that gets transmitted through client contact. Clients will be more loyal to accountants whose employees appear to be well treated and are themselves loyal.
The ease and efficiency of transactions with the company have a big impact on client loyalty. If accountants seem to put unnecessary roadblocks in the way of completing transactions, clients may feel that they don’t want to go through the process again. Unnecessary roadblocks will be perceived as a form of exclusion if they appear to portray clients as opponents rather than friends.
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