Clients F.O.R.E.V.E.R: How to Retain Accounting Clients
June 22, 2022 •TaxPlanIQ Support team
Do you sleep well knowing your clients are your biggest fans? Or do you toss and turn wondering if, at any moment, you’ll lose them?
I, Jackie Meyer, spent a lot of sleepless nights running a traditional firm. When busy season rolled around, I had no time to focus on client retention or be creative.
However, finally, passion and purpose aligned in 2016 when Meyer Tax Consulting was able to convert from hourly pricing to value pricing based on tax strategies. The team also converted to a virtual format in 2016 and now, all 10 team members operate remotely.
With the switch, I was able to keep 100 clients, all of whom I adore, and triple my revenue and time off. Finally, it became fun to go the extra mile for clients.
I was able to focus on my clients’ customer lifetime value, something you should strive for as well, considering extending lifetime value is a great way to increase profits.
For example, let’s say a client pays $5,000 a year and stays with your company for a total of 20 years. That results in $100,000 of revenue. Losing a client after just a year or two of services means losing out on that potential revenue.
According to a poll by Gallup, it cost 5x as much to gain a client as it does to retain one. The moral of the story: retention is key.
How to Improve Your Customer Retention
At Meyer Tax Consulting, we follow the F.O.R.E.V.E.R acronym to ensure excellent customer retention. It’s a concise way to explain the process of transitioning from a traditional firm to a concierge CPA practice, which is heavily centered on how you tend to your clients.
The F.O.R.E.V.E.R acronym includes proven strategies for landing and keeping your ideal dream clients.
F - Fit
One size does not fit all in tax and accounting and client volume does not equal happiness.
In our industry, now more than ever, choosing a niche is essential. It helps you narrow down and focus your skills on a specific client base.
Once you’ve picked your niche, evaluate your clients yearly to identify who you love working with and why. Take it a step further from not just identifying your ideal clients but your ideal persona. Just like you hire employees, you should care about personality types and take on clients that fit what you are looking for.
Clearly understanding your ideal clients will help you convert from hourly pricing to value pricing.
O - Outstanding
What is your firm's competitive advantage? Your competitive advantage is how you differentiate yourself from the competition.
At Meyer Tax Consulting, we offer:
- A dedicated accountant as your project manager
- Present value via ROI on tax strategies using TaxPlan IQ
- Offer video and recorded communication
- Help manage client's entire estate and financial teams
- Use an urgency system and state of the art tech
- Offer scanning, pickup, and delivery services for local clients
These are just a few of the services we offer that are unique to our firm.
If you aren’t sure what makes your firm different, ask your clients what they appreciate about you. Get their feedback and adapt to it.
R - Resource
You are your client's best resource and need to be accountable to them. However, as a leader, you can’t be every client’s go-to person, you have to extend tasks to your team. A great way to do this is to assign a team member at your firm to be dedicated to each individual client’s needs. This narrows your employee’s focus and shows your clients you care.
You should also set a standard turnaround time for projects and/or responding to your clients. This way your staff knows the expectations. Take it a step further by making it a KPI. then you can measure how well your team is performing.
E - Empathetic
Taxes are scary! Don’t become immune to the scary feeling clients have when an IRS letter arrives…or when they are starting a new business venture, a world pandemic hits, or have lost a loved one. Put yourself in their shoes and support them through all seasons of life.
V - Value
The concept of value pricing has become so convoluted in our profession that we need to take a step back and refocus on the numbers, because the truth is, if you’re still charging hourly rates, you’re likely undercharging.
When developing tax strategies, outsourced CFO work, or any consulting service you can easily estimate a cash value for that service. If demonstrating that value to your clients is difficult for you, TaxPlanIQ is a great tool to use to show their ROI when they choose to work with you.
E - Engaging
Be someone the client wants to be around.
Use emotional intelligence and personality typing, but don’t forget to have fun. Finding a way to connect positively with your clients and staff will be of benefit. You can do this by:
- Sending articles they may relate with
- Sending small gifts on their birthday
- Asking how their grandkids are doing
- Mailing their new puppy a bone
R - Revolutionary
Key changes in teams and firms tend to happen every few years. Like most businesses, your firm will go through cycles of growth and loss. Don’t wing it or throw in the towel.
Knowledge is power, so lean into your resources. Have a business plan/strategy and find a business coach. They will hold you accountable for positive change.
If you don’t have time to do any of this it’s time to take a look at your firm, your health, and your life. Start the revolution for yourself.
For coaching on growing your firm, contact Certified Concierge Accountant! Simply fill out the application to get started!