As you build your relationships with your tax clients, it’s always a good thing to see how you can serve them even better. Here are eleven ways you can add value to your existing services, which will enable you to stand out from the competition, serve the client better, and put more green in your bank account.
As you go through the list, check them off to see which ones you are doing, and which ones sound good to add to your tax business.
1. Leave a cheat sheet behind
When I was in college taking statistics, the professor allowed us to bring in one sheet of paper and we could write anything we wanted on it. You should have seen how tiny I could write. For the final, I wrote every formula down from the whole course. The sheet was literally covered from top to bottom with all the magic formulas from the world of statistics.
For tax, cheat sheet ideas would be a sheet of clients’ 2019 estimated tax payments, a summary schedule of results year after year, options for tax planning and the estimated savings, or simply a postcard with Where’s My Refund instructions.
2. Return calls and emails within a specified time, such as 3-4 hours
One way to offer a higher level of service is to set and announce service level metrics on tasks such as returning client phone calls. In a call center, one measure that’s similar is called average speed of answer. Define metrics that will add value for your clients, set the values, and announce it as part of your services.
3. Offer follow up troubleshooting
Once you’ve performed your services, a client might have some follow-up questions. Define the post-project access they will have to you in your initial contract.
4. Offer a guarantee
Do you guarantee your work? Spell out your return policy so it’s clear up front. The more liberal you are, the more your prospect’s trust level will go up.
5. Require a signed contract
When you submit a written agreement for a client to sign, not only is your insurance company happier, but your business looks professional and structured to your prospect. A contract communicates business strength and expertise.
6. Set goals with the client ahead of time so expectations and direction are not assumed
Be clear about whether you’ll need to extend a client’s return or not. Ask the client if they have additional goals beyond getting the tax return filed, and put their exact words down in writing. After you’ve completed the project, pull the clients’ words out, and ask them if they are happy with the result. This reinforces that you’re “on their side,” helping them meet their goals.
7. Communicate your intangibles
Let clients know about things you do for them that they can’t tangibly see, such as the quality control review that the return goes through, your commitment to research or continuing education, maintaining certifications or expertise, etc.
8. Offer 24/7 on-call support
I know, this is a tough one. But some of your retail and restaurant clients keep long, hard hours. If you can be available to them in their hour of need, then you are more valuable to your client than someone who is less available.
9. Provide scheduled access, such as taking calls at a certain time each day
Can you be available to clients every Monday from 10:00 AM to noon? Having instant access to you during certain hours is another way to transfer value to clients.
10. Pick up the phone
Most of us routinely give new strangers 30 minutes of our time free in exchange for the goal of offering our services. We should do the same thing periodically to existing clients. Reach out via phone or email and offer clients a free, no-obligation call during non-busy season — once a quarter, twice a year, or whatever works for you.
11. Offer add-on peace of mind services
Provide a client portal where clients can login securely and access copies of all years of tax returns. This provides a great “backup” service and reduces your customer service time too. Consider sending clients estimated tax payment reminders as a courtesy. Provide scanning services for clients who don’t want to scan their receipts. What kind of safety-net service can you think of to create for your clients?
Those are my eleven ideas to add more value for your tax clients. What are yours?
Author Bio: Sandi Leyva, CPA, CMA, MBA, and founder of Accountant’s Accelerator, has helped thousands of tax and accounting professionals earn more, work less, and serve their clients better through her innovative marketing, training, and coaching services. Author of 30 books and hundreds of CPE courses, Sandi has won 12 awards for her thought leadership. Visit her at accountantsaccelerator.com and acceleratorwebsites.com.
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