Investing in long-term client relationships isn’t just the sensible thing to do — it can make your work more meaningful and help you grow your firm more strategically and consistently.
It can cost five times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one, according to marketing consulting company Invesp. On the flip side, data shows that increasing customer retention rates by 5% can improve profits by 25% to 95%, according to Bain & Company.
The secret to unlocking cost-effective growth is to nurture existing relationships your CPA firm already has, as opposed to courting new ones. Return customers tend to spend more money over time as they grow comfortable with the relationship, and they also are far more likely to recommend new clients to your firm. In fact, 61% of small businesses report that more than half of their revenue comes from repeat customers, according to marketing insight company BIAKelsey. And the average repeat customer spends 67% more in months 31 to 36 with a business than in the first six months, according to Bain & Co.
An investment in each relationship helps your firm reach efficiencies that will improve economies of scale and foster bottom-line growth. Follow these simple steps to ensure that you’re getting the maximum return from your investments of time and money towards building long-lasting clients.
Facetime is invaluable
It’s important to meet clients face-to-face on a frequent basis, either in person or via an online touchpoint like Zoom. Keeping clients in the loop and effectively communicating goals and progress will help them feel like they’re being heard, and that their business is being prioritized.
By setting a regular meeting cadence, you’ll be sure to keep your firm at the top of their mind, which will build trust and help you to sell them premium services in the future should it be advisable. Transparency goes a long way in business, so make sure that each meeting is filled with a mix of casual conversation to pad the interpersonal part of the relationship and productivity that dives into the services rendered to their benefit.
By communicating regularly, you’ll be sure that nothing important is ever missed and that clients remain fulfilled with consistent progress reports. Another tip: take notes of each meeting and share these with clients so they can refer back to important information at their leisure.
The key thing with these meetings is to add value and make it worth their while. It will become increasingly difficult to get these meetings on your clients’ calendars if you’re not making a significant impact in their lives and nobody wants to be in a meeting just to be in a meeting. So plan ahead and work with your team to come up with valuable and helpful ideas to make a positive impact and bring those insights to your client. They’ll love you for it and take the meeting every single time.
Go above and beyond
Try not to get too comfortable and slip into a superficial back-and-forth with clients. In order to foster trusted relationships, it’s important for CPAs to go above and beyond when working with clients. They should consider asking open-ended questions to get their clients to reveal more about their wants and interests. Questions such as, “Is there anything else you’re curious about?” can get them to reveal new insights about their behavior and goals. Even if they don’t have an answer, it’ll get clients on a path toward thinking abstractly and show them that you have a deep level of caring beyond basic debits and credits.
One way to do this on a consistent basis is to provoke clients through thoughtful questionnaires that will dig more deeply into client problems and expectations. Your firm can utilize tools such as Typeform to create visually appealing and engaging questionnaires (either from scratch or a template) that incentivize clients to participate. Bonus tip: Typeform can integrate with your CRM software so that their answers can be immediately saved into each client’s profile. This will help you get a greater overall picture of their needs and behaviors to better serve them.
Utilize CRM software
By using customer relationship management software (CRM), a CPA can glean insights and an overall snapshot of each client and the progress completed on their account. A cloud-based CRM helps to ensure that data from third-party programs that you and your clients use frequently, such as QuickBooks or Typeform, can be automatically entered so that all relevant information is seamlessly gathered in one place.
Storing key information about clients and automating processes helps to ease the manual workload on CPAs while arming them with key information to effectively communicate with clients. A CRM software helps you store important information about each client, tracking all interactions across phone calls, emails and texts, notes from previous conversations, and special dates like birthdays or milestones defined by the client.
As important as it is to have consistent face-to-face with clients, it can be time-consuming to constantly revisit past interactions when designing productive meetings. CRM software organizes a firm’s client base and automates processes so that a CPA can spend more time investing in activities that will take client relationships to the next level. Even the meeting scheduling process can be automated using app integrations. The monday.com platform integrates with thousands of different applications, including everything from Google Calendar to Zoom, that can shave hours off your work every week.
monday.com can also be integrated with ActiveCampaign, which improves your firm’s marketing prowess by sending out email newsletters at regular intervals. Newsletters are another great way to ensure consistent touchpoints with clients. You can fill these weekly newsletters with progress updates and educational resources that keep clients informed and engaged.
Become a trusted advisor
Encourage the CPAs in your firm to lean into their expertise and present themselves as trusted advisors to clients. By going above and beyond in each relationship, CPAs can ensure further stickiness in client relationships by applying their extensive accounting and business knowledge to offer solutions for a wide range of problems. As you exude confidence in your area of expertise, clients will grow more comfortable leaning on your firm for more services and advice, strengthening each relationship and opening doors for new business opportunities.
Invest in client retention, invest in your future
By investing time and effort into existing client relationships, you’re investing in your firm’s future. Be sure to build thoughtful touchpoints so they feel heard, and be prepared to deliver value that exceeds their expectations. Strong client retention will open doors for your firm to offer premium services in the future, and also ensure that clients are incentivized to talk about all the great work you’re doing with potential new leads.