I was recently asked "what are the key things you see in successful accounting firms when it comes to client or customer service?" I am passionate about customer service and have summarised below my top 10 steps to better customer service;

The Accountants Ten Steps to Better Customer Service

  1. You are in business to service customer needs, and you can only do that if you know what it is your customers want. When you truly listen to your customers, they let you know what they want and how you can provide good service. 

  2. Unlock and anticipate needs. Customers don't buy products or services. They buy solutions to problems. 

  3. Be a good listener. Take the time to listen to what the customer is really saying. Listen to their words, tone of voice, body language, and most importantly how they feel.

  4. Make customers feel important and appreciated. Treat them as individuals. Always use their name and find ways to sincerely compliment them. 

  5. Help customers understand your systems. Take time to explain how your systems work and how they can integrate their systems to simplify transactions. 

  6. Appreciate the power of saying "Yes" to customers. When they have a request (as long as it is reasonable and you can achieve it) tell them that you can do it and give them a realistic expectation of completion time and the cost involved. 

  7. Know how to apologise when something goes wrong. The customer may not always be right but they need to think they have won. Deal with problems immediately and let customers know exactly what you have done. 

  8. Give more than expected. Develop your unique selling proposition (USP) and think of ways to elevate you firm above the competition. 

  9. Get regular feedback. Encourage and welcome suggestions about how your firm could improve. Look to client surveys as a good way to attract this feedback and act on it.

  10. Treat employees well. Employees are your internal customers and need a regular dose of appreciation. Appreciation always should stem from the top. This is the role of the Partners!

To learn more on improving your customer service skills come along to our Young Guns Workshop on 30 and 31 March at the Hilton Hotel Surfers Paradise, where I will be presenting a session on building exceptional customer service. Click here for further information and to register. Earlybird pricing ends 10 March.

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Mark Holton Smithink