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Strategies to Improve Client Follow-Up By Mark Holton on Aug 6, 2021

two men and four women meeting in office

One of the pivotal issues that has arisen at recent firm reviews and strategic planning sessions is that our clients do not get their telephone and email issues addressed in a timely manner. Many practitioners have mentioned to me that they get frustrated when the client calls back, often agitated that they have not had a return call or email in what they consider a reasonable time. This is always one of the top three improvements that is suggested to improve customer service when firms survey their clients.

It made me think of a recent experience I had. My computer experienced issues with Windows 10 Pro tiles that would not load. I called my local computer support provider to seek assistance and what greeted by a very cheerful and professional person who actively listed to my issue and within a few minutes of my call I received an email (or SMS my preference) with an acknowledgement of the call, a traceable ticket number and a complete description of my problem. From there I was constantly updated and upon successful rectification of my issue I received another email closing the case.

I wonder if in the accounting industry we could learn from that experience. Should we be logging calls and emails through our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems or other appropriate software and sending an email or SMS acknowledging the client’s contact with us? Should it have some reference number and summary of the question? At least that way the client would feel that they have been listened to and their question is being actioned. I know how frustrated I get when someone tells me they will call or email me and they do not do so. Something to consider?

Creating a disciplined approach to client communication through a response system in the firm is also critical. It’s all too easy to push things off until the next day. Recently the Partner of a regional accounting firm told me they have a 24-hour rule, stressing the importance of call-backs or returned emails or texts within that time. Improvements have been seen in client communication and satisfaction levels in the firm.

We’ll cover this topic and many others at our Young Guns Workshop open forum session with David Smith and Mark Holton. Young Guns 2021 is running at the Hilton Hotel Surfers Paradise on October 11 and 12. Click here for further information and to register.


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