I could not stress enough how important Customer Service is to the success of bookkeeping business. Once, a young graduate staff asked me: “why did our client stay with us for years?” Up until then, I thought that accounting industry is competitive. A slight reduction in the fee of the competitor could make us lose a client.
I explained to him that our bookkeeping & management accounting services are quite distinctive from services offered by specialised Tax or Auditing firms. In my experience, there are three reasons to explain why Customer Service could account for 50% of your success.
1. Customer expectations are rising faster. We are dealing with hundred issues per year that are very sensitive & time consuming. For example, we provide payroll services for our IT client who has around 30 staffs. We have to make sure that all payrolls should be done each week by 12.00pm so the payments can be ready for their manager to review & approve before bank cut-off time, which is at 4.00pm. If our staffs miss a pay, then the damage will be out of our control! I often say that you could make mistake somewhere else but certainly not in payroll. At Tailored Accounts, we process payroll for around 1,200 employees in Canberra & other state!
2. Large volume of transaction & information to process mean more room for mistake. If we take one of our medium size customer who got around 3 business accounts & 2 credit cards. Each month our staffs are dealing with around 500 transactions or 6,000 transactions per year. If our staffs make one coding mistake per month or 12 per year, then that equals 0.2% of total transactions per year! Customer would be really upset! In science, 1-5% error is normal; in engineering, 5-7% is within tolerance level; in building & construction, my house foundation could be built within 10% deviated from the plan. However, in bookkeeping & management accounting, 0.2% error would make you lose a client!
3. Regardless of our customer backgrounds, the most common issue is that they are time-poor. They often do not keep enough evidence or supporting documents to provide us. They do not have time to answer our queries, either. It often leads us to a much riskier business comparing with other accounting firms.
Our business is built on 50% strong technical accounting knowledge and 50% great customer experience. That is the main reason why we could retain our customers!
Customer Service is a business itself. Most accountants understand the science of “Debit/Credit”, tax, payroll, and the list goes on. But it does not fully derive your success. At Tailored Accounts, we see our clients in a regular basis. It enables our team to build a strong and close relationship with our clients. Now it is your turn. Why aren’t you calling your client today and arrange a quick catch-up?
Harry Hoang is CEO of Tailored Accounts
“The Accounts Department of Small and Medium Business”