In a recent survey, we asked tax professionals to list their top priorities. Growing their practice and streamlining their operation were identified as the top two issues. Tax preparation is a competitive field, and while customer retention is crucial to a healthy practice, there is always a need to add more clients and continue to grow.
It is important to offer consumers a variety of ways to learn about your practice so they will choose you. It is not enough to rely on word of mouth anymore. While postcard campaigns, email, and even sign twirlers might have worked in the past, today’s consumers have smartphones and often choose products and services by checking out reviews and responding on social media. Referrals are important, but how can you get even more? And how do you make sure you are showing up where these consumers are looking for tax services?
Consumer Communications Trends
A Harvard study found 70% of consumers read reviews before selecting a service professional. Another study showed 72% of consumers would prefer to be able to text businesses they use. As society becomes increasingly digital, it makes sense to take advantage of these trends in your practice. Offering new digital channels of communications and outreach will set you apart.
One of the reasons texting has become a more prevalent communication channel for many businesses is: less than 1% of texts are considered spam, and 98% of texts are read within 3 minutes. Compare that to email, where consumers now view 90% of their emails as spam. When you also consider that phone calls are rarely answered, it is clear why businesses and professionals are embracing text.
Do I have to Use My Cell Phone?
No! Business texting can easily be added to existing business phone numbers. This way, messages come from a number those clients likely recognize – your office line. This also makes it easier to capture and view the history of those conversations, unlike cell phones. You can cut down on lengthy phone calls at the same time – making you both more productive.
How Texting Can Grow your Practice
Consider what is possible when you tie texting in with your tax software. Your tax software (regardless of brand) has a lot of non-sensitive data that, when used with a texting service, can help you easily manage your clients and reduce those “chase” calls and lengthy phone conversations.
By taking advantage of how texting integrates with tax software, you can send personalized, yet automated messages to your clients. Here are some samples of how tax professionals use texting:
- Invite clients to self-book an appointment based on the timing of their visit last year with reminders
- Send alerts about missing paperwork
- Reach out to clients who have not responded yet
- Automate requests for referrals and reviews after a return is complete
- Offer a bonus for those that send you a referral
- Request reviews as a follow-up with the link to your favorite review site
- Send birthday greetings
Using this approach to generate referrals and reviews gets results. It is easier and a lot less awkward to send requests via texting than asking in person, and studies show that 72% of people will leave a review if asked. Plus, making it easy to leave a review with a link in the text message works. Reviews and referrals increase on average by 15% – 20% or more. This is a great way to expand your client base and promote yourself through recent reviews.
Even More Ways to Get New Clients
You likely already advertise your practice – maybe you use social media, posters, even postcards. Consider adding an easy way for people to text you to learn more about your services or offer them an incentive to do so without having to call you with an easy-to-remember keyword and code. For example, consider adding the following information to your ad – “Text ‘TaxesGail’ to 87000 to get 15% off your first return.” You can use this approach anywhere you advertise.
Another approach is to offer mobile website visitors an easy way to reach out to you. Many consumers are searching for services via their mobile phones. Make it easy for them to contact you by embedding a “text-in” option on your website. It is only visible to smartphone users, and when clicked, it will automatically pre-fill the to/from. Now, all they do is type their message telling you of their interest.
Growing your practice and making your daily operations easier is possible with the right business texting solution! Join our webinar, Secrets to Growing & Streamlining Your Practice with Business Texting in 2022, on November 9th at 11 AM Pacific / 2 PM Eastern, to learn even more! You can register here.