We just finished a survey of 428 small to medium business owners. We asked them a whole series of questions regarding what they want from their Accountant. they way they wanted to be communicated with. How they wanted to be contacted and what services they are looking for. I am going to publish a few of the findings here. You can get the full report for free by clicking here.
One of the early set of questions was around communication. We were specifically looking for how well Accountants communicate now and what their clients want. With face-to-face communication you can see by the table below that 62% want more face-to-face contact. Of course, provided there is value in the meeting.
The key is that there is value in the meeting. You are busy and your clients are busy. If there is value then (judging by 428 responses) your clients are receptive to meeting you more frequently. To create value why don’t you do a brainstorm meeting in your office on the client. Come up with some ideas for improvement and take those ideas to the client.
Face-to-face meetings take time. A phone call does not. A touch base ‘how’s it going call’ is seriously valuable and shows that you are interested in their affairs. As you can see below a staggering 40% of clients NEVER get a call from their Accountant. What a wasted opportunity to add value and maybe find a new project. More than half got a call never or once per year.
I ask Accountants all the time if they have good relationships with their clients. An overwhelming YES is the response. To create a relationship it requires communication. How can you honestly have a good relationship with someone if you only meet with them 1-2 times per year and speak with them once per year? Just imagine if you only spoke to your life partner (assuming you have one) at home once or twice a year. How would the relationship be? For some of you… better!
So how much communication is too much? Just by asking the target market some still say (12%) that they do not want any phone communication from you. It’s interesting that 40% do not get a call now yet 12% do not want a call. So I am thinking thinking that 28% of the ‘I don’t get a call now’ group do actually want a call. The vast majority in our survey (78%) think a proactive call anything from 1 to 4 times per year would be a good idea. So call it 2 or 3 times per year.
This is not rocket science. The service levels are so bad in the Accounting profession that anything simple like a proactive phone call to ‘check in’ can make the world of difference to the perception of you, your business and your services. You can get the full report for free by clicking here.