First of all, take a breath and realize that we are all in this together! There are many tips and tricks that you can follow to help strengthen your client relationships, and many you may already be doing. It is important to remember that during this pandemic, companies who lead with compassion and genuinely address clients’ needs can strengthen relationships and build long-lasting partnerships.
Tip 1: Keep Clients Up-to-Date
Keeping your contacts up-to-date on the ever-changing business environment is the first -and possibly the most crucial-tip. Like many other firms, my firm created a COVID-19 resources section on our website to house all of our outgoing communications, newsletters, media interviews, etc. Feedback shows that many have visited this specific page over the past year to find answers to their rising questions and concerns. We also have been very proactive with our email blasts, sending out timely information as soon as it becomes available to us. Our hope is that our clients and prospects turn to us first regarding clarification on the endless tax and financial updates.
Tip 2: Be Easily Accessible
Hand-in-hand with keeping clients up-to-date, making yourself available is more important now than ever before. Aiming to respond to emails and voicemails within 12-24 hours assures our clients that they are still our number one priority. It is important that our clients feel they have access to us during these confusing times and that they were not left behind in the scramble. Many partners in my firm have set up personal reminders to make sure they are checking in with clients throughout the year, allowing them to feel heard. This can make or break a professional relationship and is key to continuing what we all hope is long-lasting rapport.
Tip 3: Remain Positive
Sometimes staying positive is easier said than done, but it is important when addressing the ongoing issues some businesses and individuals are facing due to the pandemic. We have encountered a number of clients over the last six months who are fearful for their businesses and their livelihood. As the saying goes, people may not always remember what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Give them a sense of hope and a shoulder to lean on during these trying times, and you will leave a lasting impression.
Tip 4: Accelerate Digital Options
My firm quickly realized that if we were going to weather the storm of the pandemic, we needed to develop our digital functionalities as a whole in order to ensure smooth continuity of services. Luckily, our entire staff was equipped with the necessary equipment to work in a virtual world. The transition to working from home progressed rapidly, and we did not skip a beat when it came to servicing our clients. We made sure that all payments could be made electronically and that our clients felt safe in the comfort of their homes without the worrying that they needed to come to our office.
We also found ways to host virtual educational seminars throughout the year. We knew these value-added seminars were important to our clients and did not want a year of shuffling and change to halt these sessions. Instead, we adapted and learned the new technology for the sake of our clients. Finding new ways to reach out via video chat and online sessions has kept the heartbeat of our firm going strong.
I hope you this article has given you a new sense of understanding the customer experience and how this concept has taken on a new dimension in light of the pandemic. Choosing to be leaders who adapt and innovate during these trying times will hopefully lead us to even stronger relationships with our clients well beyond this year and next.
About Jenna Ward
Working as the Marketing Manager for a regional CPA Firm, I work alongside the Chief Growth Officer, the Firm Partners, and Staff. With three locations throughout Western New York, I lead the firm through our day-to-day internal marketing efforts and managing our public relations relationship. I also oversee the proposal process, community sponsorships, social media, firm volunteer efforts and assist with our wellness program.