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Improving tax client satisfaction: Do your clients know how much you save them?

Corey Greene  Customer Proposition Strategy Lead, Small-Mid Firms - Tax and Accounting Professionals

· 5 minute read

Corey Greene  Customer Proposition Strategy Lead, Small-Mid Firms - Tax and Accounting Professionals

· 5 minute read

As a tax and accounting professional, you have an impressive skillset with deep domain expertise. You provide services that the vast majority of people are unable to provide themselves. As a result, you offer a tremendous amount of value to your clients, so why do you need to focus on improving tax client satisfaction?

Why are you facing fee pressures and client turnover?

Unfortunately, most tax and accounting professionals are not as skilled in the areas of sales and marketing. Effectively selling the services you provide is essential to maximizing your value.

Whether it’s tax savings, addressing receivables more effectively, a quicker turn on inventory or outsourcing administrative tasks, your firm saves clients a lot of time and money. But do they know just how much?

The services your firm provides are undervalued by your clients when they are not easily able to understand or see the value you add. Take a look at the receipt from your most recent purchase. If it is from one of the most successful retailers or grocers in the market such as Target, Kohls, or Kroger, then you will see exactly how much you saved either by each item or as a total highlighted at the end.

Time for a change

While most of us in the tax and accounting profession prefer to undersell and overdeliver, this mantra doesn’t effectively communicate the full impact of our work. The media is constantly telling your clients that technology is making tax and accounting work easier and they can simply do it themselves, meaning it’s more important than ever for you to effectively communicate the value you provide to your clients.

If it feels like you are over-communicating, then you’re probably communicating just often enough. It’s also important to frame information appropriately. For example, when you uncover a new strategy or technique that will save a client money, think about whether it’s a one-time savings or a savings that will continue over multiple quarters or years. If it’s the latter, it’s likely a great way to market your value.

Let’s say you’ve discovered a way for your client to reduce their tax burden by $1,500 this year. But those savings will recur over several years as is the case with many tax optimization strategies. Instead of telling your client you have saved them $1,500 on this year’s tax return, why not explain to them how you will save them $7,500 in taxes over the next five years? This is an important part of transitioning to your client’s most trusted advisor from being their tax return or financial statement preparer.

With this strategy, it is important to make sure you calculate the total savings over an appropriate time period, which can be determined on a case-by-case basis and based on what you know about that client. The bottom line is that you should not expect your clients to connect the dots themselves. Make the connections for them and showcase the true value of your work.

Why now?

With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) still fresh, the value you provide in terms of navigating tax law changes is especially important.  While this tax season was likely one for the record books, use the off-season to research new and innovative ways you can save your clients money or help them better understand the TCJA and its impact on them. Investing in the latest tax software solutions integrated with trusted research and guidance can help you do just that without much additional effort.

Also consider sharing your insight on tax topics throughout the year with your clients. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways such as online and print newsletters or briefs and posts for social media. If that sounds like another thing you simply don’t have enough time for, then leveraging the technology available today will help. There are several tools and offerings that help streamline this process, allowing you to become a thought leader with much less manual effort.

If your clients see you as a trusted partner with valuable expertise on tax strategy all year long, you will significantly strengthen your relationship with them. Not only do stronger relationships lead to improved client retention rates, they also lead to the most impactful form of marketing — referrals.

In the end, these sales and marketing practices are essential when it comes to providing a superior client experience because they result in your clients understanding and fully appreciating the value you are providing them. Promoting your value will, in turn, maximize the value clients place on your services — and that will keep them coming back for more.

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