Creating the perfect client retention program for your accountancy firm

What’s the best way to increase the size of your portfolio? It sounds obvious, but our best suggestion is to stop losing clients! How? By building a client retention program.

What’s the point?

A client leaving here and there isn’t too big of a deal, right? Wrong! There’s a lot of benefits that working on your client retention will have. Just a few:

  • Save money and resources spent on acquisition (and get a better ROI on what you do spend)
  • Use the relationship to increase your upselling opportunities
  • Build a relationship that wins advocacy and referrals
  • Stop giving work to your competitors
  • Build rewarding relationships with customers (and stop damaging morale with client loss)

Going the extra mile to keep those clients on board is always worth it.

Start on the right foot

So how do you get started? With a new rule: make sure your prospective clients will be ideal for your firm before you bring them on board. Square pegs don’t belong in round holes and it’s not worth wasting your time on a client who was never fit for your firm. Designing your ideal client and finding businesses that fit the bill will bring you more success long-term than picking up any client that comes your way.

Set clear expectations for what your client can expect from you and vice versa. Provide prospective clients with case studies and other materials, so they can get an accurate feel for your services. Don’t push a wrong fit. Investing extra time in choosing your clients carefully will save you time and resources long term. It’ll be better for both of you.

Be irreplaceable

The simplest way to not be replaced: be irreplaceable! Retain customers simply through great service. Treat your clients’ goals as your goals. If your service is excellent, your clients are unlikely to have reason to leave.

Stay in the loop

Proactively find opportunities to improve cash flow, profits and to highlight issues. Almost half of clients complain that their accountant is reactive rather than proactive. And we know what you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to be proactive!”. 

But, this doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Dashboards bring your important data into one place, so you can see what’s going on in a single glance. With automatic syncing, you’ll never have to worry about data admin, simply plug in and play. Use tools with alert functions to do the proactive work for you. They’ll let you know if things are going downhill instantly.

Prove your worth

Your client’s data is in your hands. To prove that your services are doing some good, show them! Say a client came to you discussing the idea of opening a new store location. You put a killer scenario model and forecast together and you both decide that it’s a good idea. When, six months later, their second store lives up to your predictions (well done), don’t be afraid to point it out, it’ll benefit both of you to know.

Go above and beyond

Extend your services. What more can you do to make a difference to your clients? Sit them down and ask. What more could I be doing to help your business? If your clients don’t have an answer, ask them what their goals are and match your services to that.

Stand out

Be the accountant they’ve always been seeking. Being unique and strengthening your brand image can do wonders for you. Not only will your firm receive more attention, you’ll receive more relevant attention (and the process is a lot of fun, too).

Simply, ask.

We’re all a little biased about our work. When this blog is ‘finished’ it’ll go through multiple sets of eyes that will, essentially, tear it apart and build it back up, better. When we’re too close to our work, it can be completely blinding. The best way to get a true representation of your services is simply, to ask. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your services, but you’ll always have space to improve.

Your clients will leap at a chance to give their feedback. With a tailored service like accountancy, especially with business development packages, your clients will always have something to say or something more you could be doing for them. It’s surprising how many firms don’t ask. One in four businesses (28 percent) say their accountants have never sought any feedback from them. So stand out. Ask.

Should you lose a client, then that’s a shame. But, it’s also a great opportunity to collect feedback. Their reason for leaving could be out of your control. But, if it’s not, they’re not likely to be shy with their thoughts.

Equally important is finding out what you do well. Don’t forget to pat yourself and your team on the back. Every firm is different and shines with its own strengths. Knowing what yours are will help you find fitter prospective clients and play to your strengths to keep them around.