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Client Retention Strategies

     -     Jul 25th, 2010   -     Accounting Marketing   -     0 Comments

The economy is slowly making a recovery from the issues and challenges experienced just 18  months ago. I can verify this because many of my clients are seeing an increase in business and reduction in number of days in receivables. These all are great signs. New business is awesome! Every firm wants it and loves to get it. However, it is important to remember that retaining existing clients is as important (and less costly) then seeking new ones. I believe this is a statement a lot of us forget in the “hunting” process.

I found a great blog post on the topic, Reach Out & Touch A Client, by Scott Cytron. For those of you who don’t know Scott he is a public relations specialist, but has skills that exceed far beyond that one discipline. In this blog post, he outlines key methods firms can use to stay in front of clients and keep open lines of communication throughout the year.

A brief overview of the strategies presented include:

  • Contact clients more than once a year. Most accountants are only in touch with their clients before tax season.
  • Pick up the phone and call the client. Most everyone wants to only communicate by e-mail.
  • Discuss what’s changed and what’s new. Tell the client the clock isn’t running, and you want to discuss what’s changed for the client.
  • Meet for coffee, lunch or some other social event. Schedule a time to meet with the client in person, away from the office.
  • Exchange referrals. This is perhaps the step most accountants forget; you want referrals for your practice, but you also should offer referrals to your clients.

These are excellent methods for client retention. The only item I can add from practical experience is conducting a client satisfaction survey with your largest clients to ensure any issues, challenges or opportunities are uncovered. This shows your firm is proactive, interested in the client beyond the billable hours and acts as a fail safe should an issue be festering with the client. The last thing you want to do is find out about an issue after the client has informed you they are going with another CPA firm.

I recommend reading this blog post by Scott Cytron and reviewing other such materials on client retention strategies as this is a critical marketing activity that most seem to “forget”.

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