What I want to say to you is that one thing that you can definitely do to grow your business is to think about the customer experience. A business’ purpose is to get and retain clients, right? As a business without customers, you will not be in business. So, getting new customers and retaining your existing customers should be pretty much the focus of all of your client interactions, and what these client interactions are called, collectively, is the customer experience.
What worked for us
One thing I have really tried to build solid at Balance Tax Accountants is a great customer experience from the beginning. I didn’t inherit a business, I didn’t buy a client list, I created it myself. I started it from just me getting clients and growing from there. I’ve really tried to create a great customer experience, and I did that by thinking about all the different touch-points that our business comes across when it comes to communicating with our customers.
Balance Tax Accountants offer services. A lot of our services are online, some are in person, but basically one of the biggest aspects of the customer experience is our presence on social media, because that’s where people like, comment, direct message us, and email. My team and I have put a lot of effort into ensuring that we have a consistent and easy customer experience. We want to be able to communicate with our clients in a way that is easy and meaningful to them.
How can you create a good customer experience?
I’m going to tell you a couple of things that we’ve implemented in Balance Tax Accountants.
A year ago, I thought we had a great customer experience, but then we grew pretty large, pretty quickly. And so, every once in a while, you’ve got to stop and reflect on where you’re at, are you still delivering a customer experience that is on the same level as where your business is at now? Are you still delivering a level of service that you are happy with as a business owner and that your customers are happy with?
1. We implemented feedback forms
After every piece of work, or every job, is completed, we now send our clients feedback forms where we ask them how we did. We ask our clients things like: how was the booking process? Did you find it easy? How about the process that we have for giving us information to be able to do the work? Did you find that easy? Do you have any helpful comments, thoughts? Any good, and bad things to say? Any feedback you would like to give us? Areas we can improve?
Implementing feedback forms is a really easy way to gauge how you’re doing with the customer experience because you’re asking your customers directly. There is no guessing.
2. Scheduling Tools
We use a calendar for scheduling our client work. Whenever someone contacts us to book in work, if it’s recurring, then it’s scheduled in advance. We know the monthly work that happens and we have processes in place to make sure it happens the same for quarterly work. But let’s say things like tax returns, you only do those once a year, and you’re not necessarily going to do your tax returns the same month every single year – we have a process for this too.
3. Setting timelines, and beating them
One thing that we’ve done to improve the customer experience is when people contact us and want their tax return done, we ask for some information from them first. When they send it back to us, their job is scheduled in, and we notify them of the estimated wait time.
See what we’re doing? We’re hedging the client’s expectations of the turnaround of their work. The rule is that you always want to overestimate, so that way you under promise and over deliver. The worst thing you can do is over promise and under deliver, then the customer will feel start to feel impatient with you and loose confidence in your work.
But if we told them, “hey, your work is going to be done in about two weeks”. If we can get to it sooner than we will. When you deliver it to them a week and a half in advance they’re going to be like, “Oh, wow. I wasn’t expecting to get it until a couple of days from now. This is awesome.”
See how it’s so easy for you to kind of set your business up as the hero? So, those are just a couple of things that we’ve implemented in Balance Tax Accountants. Please have a think about the customer experience that you’re providing your customers, and what are some simple things that you can do to improve it.
Customer experience does not have to be expensive. The things we implement have not cost us another dollar at all.
Get creative and I’ll talk to you later!
– Diana Todd