Did you know that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one? A Bain & Co. study also found companies that increased their retention rates by just five percent, increased profits upwards of 95 percent.
Client retention should be the goal of every business, but it’s especially important in service-based industries like accounting. You can take relationships you’ve already built and upsell your services to earn more revenue. Which sounds a lot better than pouring money into customer acquisition.
Here are four things you can do to retain your bookkeeping clients longer, while increasing profits.
#1 Identify Your ‘VIP’ Clients (and Go Above and Beyond for Them)
You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule, sometimes known as the Pareto Principle. This “law of the vital few” states that 20 percent of most causes are responsible for 80 percent of most effects.
To put that in business terms, it means that roughly 20 percent of your clients will generate 80 percent of your revenue and profits. These aren’t exact percentages of course, but you get the idea. In fact, as you read this, did the names of those major clients flash through your mind?
That 20 percent of high-revenue customers should receive at least 80 percent of your attention. Once you’ve identified who they are, find different ways you can go above and beyond for them. When these “VIP” clients stay on longer, you might even be able to maintain or increase profits while taking on fewer clients—every CPA and bookkeeper’s dream.
#2 Make the Hardest Part of Their Relationship with You as Easy as Possible
What’s the least favorite part of a client’s relationship with you? Paying for your services, of course!
That may have been a bit of a joke, but the concept of making payments as frictionless as possible is serious. Just look at the eCommerce industry, where practically every online retailer or platform is integrating one-click checkouts and payments.
Across-the-board integration of one-click payments hasn’t made its way into the accounting industry, but it’s just a matter of time. By removing payment friction now, your clients will not only love you for it, but you’ll be seen as an early adopter and have a leg up on the competition.
Biller Genie’s Branded Customer Portal is a great example of how you can improve the payment experience for your clients.
#3 Show Them That You Appreciate Their Business
Growing up, we all learned the importance of saying thank you. This is a lesson that should extend beyond personal interactions and into the heart of your business. Expressing gratitude in whatever form, if sincere, will always resonate.
This study demonstrates the importance of showing gratitude to customers, and how it impacts their perceptions of a company’s marketing and relationship management efforts. In short? Saying “thank you” is a fast, easy, and effective way to build rapport with clients and increase retention rates.
Even those of us with the most polite intentions can forget to say thank you in the hustle and bustle of running a business. To make this easy, we’ve created an Automated Invoice Messenger that (on top of sending invoices and payment reminders) will automatically send thank you messages on a set schedule.
#4 Ask for Feedback (and act on it)
Asking for honest feedback from your clients isn’t easy. But as uncomfortable and vulnerable as it may feel, constructive feedback can be invaluable to the growth of your CPA practice.
The key to receiving constructive feedback is to create a safe and comfortable environment for sharing. Most often, this is done in the form of an anonymous online survey, or via email. If a client provides feedback in person, actively listen to what they’re saying without getting defensive.
Regardless of how you receive it, use client feedback to improve your services. This not only encourages an open line of communication with your clients, it demonstrates how much you care about their experience, and that you respect what they have to say.
If your clients are expressing frustration over limited and outdated payment options, for example, consider a payment platform like Biller Genie. Not only does it help automate the entire invoicing process, it allows your clients to pay through ACH, credit cards, or ApplePay. This small change in how you run your practice will reap enormous benefits for you and your clients.
Save Time and Give Your Clients More Value with Biller Genie
Adopting these customer retention strategies may take some time, but the effort is well worth the outcome. With the help of Biller Genie’s free payment platform, the process will be faster and easier.
CPAs and bookkeepers are already taking advantage of everything Biller Genie has to offer. And as a recent recipient of the CPA Practice Advisor Technology Innovation Award, it’s easy to see why they can’t stop talking about it.