When hiring new office personnel, we tend to focus on the expectations for interoffice behavior. We discuss dress code, appropriate workspace personal belongings, and even acceptable conversation topics. We often forget to inform them of one of the most important parts of the job: how to care for customers.
A small accounting firm usually finds success by providing unparalleled customer service. It’s when the company grows and adds employees that these initial values begin to erode. It’s vital for firms to maintain excellent customer service as they grow. This must be communicated to each new hire as early as possible. The following are a few recommendations to care for your customers at the office.
Answer Emails Promptly
You are not typically expected to stop everything to take care of an email request from a client. It is, however, important that employees remain aware of the messages that come into their inbox. Setting a time to review emails throughout the day is a good way to ensure employees don’t miss an urgent request or the need for an instant order.
Even if the email is not urgent, your client is expecting an answer. A good baseline for email responses is one business day. Basic questions should be handled within 24 hours. Clients requesting more involved tasks should know within a day their message was received and is being worked on. That message should also include an estimated time when their request will be completed or when to expect another update.
Be Professional on the Phone
There is an art to phone etiquette that is sometimes forgotten as other methods of communication gain popularity. Even if calls don’t happen as often as they used to, they still occur and the voice your client hears still matters. “Hello” is simply an unacceptable way to pick up an incoming phone call in a place of business. Even the customary “How can I help you?” is not enough.
When a person calls your company, they may not be certain what kind of service they are going to get. The first few words they hear should put them at ease. Your entire staff should answer with a professional, yet friendly tone and provide the name of the company, their own name, and let the caller know they are here to assist him or her. This will inform your client or prospect they are calling the right place and that someone knowledgeable will answer their questions before they have even introduced themselves.
The ways people communicate may be changing as our technology moves faster than ever but in the end, human beings still want to know there is another person at the other end who can empathize with their problems or needs. Be sure every new employee understands your expectations before they sit at their new desk. Also, be sure to remind existing team members of this important concept.
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