How to Deliver Consistent Client Deliverables That Drive Referrals
Author: Financial Cents
Don’t worry about referrals when you can’t deliver consistent quality work for your existing clients. Be grateful you’re still in business.
Ordinarily, 59% of clients leave a business after a few bad experiences. Not meeting client deliverables will frustrate your chances of client satisfaction and referrals.
And it’s not about your accounting skills. A disorganized work system will prevent even the best accountants from doing their best work. But an efficient work system helps accounting teams deliver excellent client experience—which is, essentially, providing accurate and timely services.
Meeting client deliverables takes you from worrying about losing your clients to enjoying:
- Repeat Patronage: when your clients know they can count on your service quality, they will keep coming back to you. Clients do not particularly enjoy jumping from one firm to another.
- Long-lasting Client Relationships: With repeat businesses comes a lasting client interaction—a relationship—that can evolve even beyond business.
- More Referrals: a happy client is your best marketing asset. Word-of-mouth referral is still the most effective form of marketing.
- Increased Revenue: with repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals comes more sales of your services, which will improve your firm’s bottom line.More Resources For You:
Four Ways to Deliver Consistent Deliverables that Drive Client Satisfaction and Referrals
Delivering quality work month-on-month requires hard work, determination, and attention to detail—all of which rely on an effective system to work.
Here’s what you can do (and how) to consistently meet client deliverables that drive referrals.
Sending client work on time is easier said than done. You’re constantly juggling multiple projects. You have so many clients for your small or mid-sized firm. And each client expects nothing less than highly personal service. Any mistake can cause important information to fall through the cracks and set the entire work back to square one.
Here’s how you can ensure that you always send client work out way before (or by) the deadline:
Break Work Down into Smaller Tasks and Delegate Them to Your Team
Experts will tell you how threatening work looks until broken into small pieces. Since every work is a combination of smaller tasks, sharing the work between your team members will help you complete them in a short time. Plus, it involves less energy and keeps procrastination away.
But don’t make the common mistake of adding more work to a staff already overburdened. That, too, is easier said than done. Except you use an accounting workflow software solution with a capacity or workload management feature.
Capacity management allows you to see who has room for more work so you can keep the balance in your firm.
Here’s how you can access the capacity management feature if you use Financial Cents:
- Click on the Reports tab
- Select Capacity Management to see all your staff and the number of hours they are assigned to work this week, next week, and the month. That way, you can reassign between your team members.
- You can also set a capacity limit to filter overworking employees at a glance.
Your practice management software may do this differently, but you should be able to achieve the same results. But if you don’t use any workflow management software, you’re leaving too much money on the table.
Automate Task Dependencies
For client work that involves multiple team members, it’s not enough to assign the work to the most qualified team members. Planning how and when they will hand off is equally important. You’d be asking for too much if you rely on your brain to manage this process.
Work management software solutions make managing task dependencies easy. Financial Cents, for example, will automatically notify each assignee when their task is due to begin.
The system will also help all assignees focus on their current tasks by making their tasks inactive until the preceding steps are completed. That way, you save the assignees from worrying about whether or not it’s time to start their dependent tasks.
Avoid Errors (with Documented Workflow Checklists)
Errors are bound to happen when you do not have a documented checklist for completing client work in your firm.
Accounting workflow templates and checklists make work faster because they save your team from the delay of figuring out what to do per task.
Besides, how many members do you have in your team, 3, 14, or 47? Each of them will prefer to get work done in surprising conflicting ways, which may not be bad per se. You can’t leave your operating procedures to each team member’s preferences. Your work quality will be too inconsistent for clients to take you seriously.
Like cooking recipes, workflow checklists will guide any of your team members to the same outcome.
Collaborate with Clients (with Client Tasks)
In a perfect world, your clients will send you the information you need shortly after requesting them. That would make your firm more efficient because your staff wouldn’t have to lose momentum because of client delays.
But the world will never be perfect. And you will need to leave other client work to chase them down for it. But you can’t scale your firm that way. The next best thing is to outsource client data collection—to your client management software.
Even though different practice management software solutions approach client data collection differently, the average tool should be sufficient.
It is hard to consistently deliver high-quality work when you can’t get your client to respond to your requests on time.
***Pro Tip: Don’t wait until the task is due to set up a client task. Once you’re creating a client work, cast your mind forward for what you will need from point A to Z of the work. Then proceed to set up the client task. They likely would have sent the information by the time your team needs it.
Take Notes to Keep Your Team Up to Date
Having all team members on the same page at every point and in every work is crucial. It keeps everyone in the loop when something needs adjusting.
That is where the ability to add notes to a client’s profile helps.
You can add client notes to tasks with spreadsheets and sticky notes. But that will be more stressful to manage. Plus, it can easily get lost in transit.
However, the best accounting practice management software should help you keep client notes at every staff’s disposal. They can see the latest update on a client’s work whenever they want to work on the task and adjust accordingly.
To collaborate with Client Notes in Financial Cents:
- Open a client’s profile from the Client list.
- Select Notes at the top of the window.
- Enter the information your team needs, and the assignee will see it when they come to work on the client’s work.
That makes it easy for your team to deliver satisfactory results based on the current information.
Imagine you need to decide between two accounting firms for a business you’ve built with your blood, sweat, and tears.
Firm ABC makes it easy for you to send additional information, which always reflects in the quality of their deliverables. They don’t miss a deadline. They give you financial guidance.
With Firm DEF, you struggle to communicate. They even seem to struggle with communicating among themselves. Updates on your work rarely reflect in the final result. Worst of all, you can’t be sure they’ll meet your important deadlines, which keeps you awake at night.
Would you ever choose the second firm over the first? How about referring your friends to the second firm? I should hope not. 96% of dissatisfied clients may not tell you but will tell up to 15 of their friends to avoid your firm.
Why not be like the firm, so your clients would not only stay with you longer but will also recommend your firm to their associates?
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