As an accountant, you’re more than someone who “does taxes.” You’re a trusted advisor to your clients, someone who can help them reach their financial goals at tax time and throughout the year. You know this. But do your clients know it?
Tax season is the best time of year to remind your clients just how valuable you are to them – you have more customer interaction right now than at any other time. The trouble is, you’re so busy that it’s easy to cut corners on customer service. Rushing through customer interactions may seem efficient, but it can leave your customers wondering whether your services are really worth the extra money. After all, they could get the same tax forms from a storefront tax shop or an online do-it-yourself service for a lot less.
So, as you are in the midst of your busiest time of year, with one client meeting after another, ask yourself: What are you doing to show your clients your value as a trusted advisor? It doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, you can often accomplish it in three simple steps:
Listen – Truly listen to your client. In addition to paying attention to what they say, it’s important to read between the lines in the documents they send you. What are they saying?
Confirm – Do you truly understand the issues your client is facing? Do you understand what they really want? If so, that’s great. But it’s not enough. You need to make sure that your client knows that you understand. Often, you can confirm this by repeating their goals and concerns back to them in your own words. If your interpretation is correct, you’ll show them you’re listening. If it isn’t, you’ve just started an important conversation.
Advise – Based on your understanding of where they are and what they want, provide some advice on how they can accomplish their goals – even if it’s just an affirmation that they are on the right path.
You know that you’re doing a great job. It’s important that your clients know that as well. So take a few moments to listen, confirm, and advise. It’ll go a long way to elevate your status as a trusted advisor.