THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BEING ACCESSIBLE TO YOUR CLIENTS
14 February 2018
If you want to create the best possible client experience, making yourself more accessible can go a long way.
With more choice available to consumers than ever before, competition can be tough for professional services firms. Accountants who want to hang on to their existing clients — and gain new ones — need to go the extra mile to meet their clients’ varied and changing needs.
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Good service depends on accessibility, and being accessible can do wonders in terms of boosting client loyalty. On the other hand, if you’re not there for your clients, they’ll take their business elsewhere — and they definitely won’t refer others to you.
We asked Matt Wood, Director at Insight Financial Partners in Perth, to share what client accessibility means to him and his team. Here’s what he had to say.
1. Be available when they are
At the most basic level, accessibility is about being ready and able to help your clients whenever they get in touch.
“We’ve got one phone number that is always manned,” said Wood. “So our clients always get to speak to a friendly person, rather than just hearing an impersonal voicemail message.”
Wood and his team also schedule meetings outside business hours for clients who need to fit their appointments around work and other commitments.
“Our key people are also available 24/7 on their mobiles,” he said. “If you want to put your clients’ needs first, it’s important to be flexible.”
2. Stay connected
Thanks to technology, firms can connect with current and potential clients in all sorts of ways — from texting appointment reminders to emailing client newsletters and interacting on social media. With videoconferencing apps like Skype and FaceTime, accountants can also hold meetings with their clients anytime, anywhere.
“Your technology should be as user-friendly as possible,” Wood said. “For instance, we recently revamped our website so it’s now accessible on hand-held devices.”
3. Help the less tech-savvy
Of course, all the cutting-edge technology in the world isn’t going to help your clients if they can’t use it. That’s why education is so important — and accountants can have a hand in educating their clients.
“Younger clients are really comfortable with technology, but some of our older clients are daunted by the pace that technology is changing, or they don’t realise how useful it can be for them,” Wood explained. “So we encourage them to bring their iPads to the office, and we show them easy ways that they can use technology to better manage their finances.”
4. Jettison the jargon
Being accessible is about more than just being physically present; it’s also about speaking to clients in language they understand. In fact, according to recent research, one of the qualities clients prize highly in an adviser is the ability to explain complicated financial concepts in simple ways.1 So keep the jargon for business meetings, and leave it out of client conversations.
Wood commented: “Every time we speak to a client we use plain English and keep our explanations as simple as possible. Many of our clients are small business owners, so we always make sure they truly understand the strategy and what it will mean for them and their business.”
5. Get in front of your clients
Finally, don’t forget the value of regular engagement with your clients. Face-to-face meetings are important for building trust and cultivating stronger client relationships.
“We regularly hold meetings for clients with team members from different parts of our business, so our clients can talk to us about their needs and goals,” said Wood. “Our role is firstly to listen, and then we share all the different ways our firm could add value for them. This helps the client get the most out of us — and it also helps us build our business.”
 Investment Trends Pty Ltd, April 2015 SMSF Investor Report, based on a survey of 3,941 SMSF trustees.