I have seen more and more articles recently about those who pay extra just to receive good service. Technicians with cable companies wear booties in the homes of customers who pay for premium service. Airlines allow pre-boarding for customers who pay an additional fee. Even car dealerships provide mats and car washes to their “best” customers.
Society has gotten to the point where we consider customer service an “add on.” You receive the product you pay for, but you’ll have to pay extra if you want good service! Whether out of frustration or just plain apathy, customers appear accept this trend, but why?
Many of us were raised according to the Golden Rule – treat others as you would like to be treated. There is no reason why this adage shouldn’t apply in today’s world … and not at an extra cost! Good customer service should not be an “over and above” – it should part of your daily routine in serving and interacting with your clients. You should not give special treatment to a preferred set of customers – instead, they should ALL be treated as premium clients!
The easy part is that you don’t really have to do anything in a big way – it’s all of the little things. The hard part can be integrating this into your everyday approach so that it becomes routine.
Not sure where to start? Here are some tips for making all of your clients feel like they are on your “A” list:
· Really listen to your clients. Good listening and communication skills are key to building a strong business relationship. You can’t provide the right services if you don’t really understand the issues and specific needs. Engage in active conversations with your clients, and show passion for what you do.
· Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you will do it. A last-minute request might be inconvenient or require overtime, but coming through for a customer is invaluable.
· Respond to e-mail and phone calls in a timely manner. If you need to follow up or research an issue further, keep your client in the loop. And make sure they know when you are out of the office or on vacation.
· Be proactive with your clients and stay in touch – OFTEN! Don’t wait until there’s a crisis or a problem that needs to be resolved. Contact your customers on an ongoing basis. You can e-mail articles of interest and keep them apprised of industry trends or changes. Even just a periodic note is a great way to see how business is going, to check if their needs have changed, orto inform them of new services from which they may benefit.
· Make your clients feel important. Just because you think you are providing good client service doesn’t mean you are. It is your client’s perception that counts, not yours. Put yourself in the client’s shoes to get a better perspective.
I’ve been a practicing accountant for more than 30 years. In that time, I’ve found that delivering exceptional client service is essential for growing professionally and developing strong business relationships. It also allows you to differentiate yourself and really stand out from your competitors.
At SS&G, we’ve made it an important part of our culture to frequently examine our client service . We implemented the Sales and Service Group, a series of monthly meetings where our staff discusses how we can best provide exceptional service. Our commitment has earned us a World Class Customer Service award for the last five years in a row.
To develop and nurture loyal, satisfied customers, outstanding client service must be an integral part of your daily routine – it should be a “given” rather than an “exception.”
Mark Goldfarb, CPA
Mark A. Goldfarb, CPA
- Serves both business and individual clients, advising and assisting them with their financial and operational endeavors.
- Serves on SS&G’s finance commitee and executive committee, which leads the firm’s strategy and growth
- Provides traditional compliance services to hundreds of businesses, including: tax planning, tax research, participation in IRS audits, preparation and review of federal, state, and local income taxes, audits, reviews and compilations, and monthly financial statement preparation
- Experience in tax, estate, and succession planning, particularly in the field of family-owned businesses
- Bachelor of Science in accounting from The University of Akron
- Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants (OSCPA), member
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), member
- Cascade Capital Corporation, executive committee member and past president
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) Foundation, chairman
- Summa Foundation, board member
- Advancement Council for The University of Akron, member
- Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, board member
- Greater Akron Chamber, board member
- Named, along with business partner Gary Shamis, the 2008 E&Y's Entrepreneur of the Year for Northeast Ohio in the financial services category
- Recipient of the Dr. Frank L. Simonetti Distinguished Business Award from his alma mater, The University of Akron
- Honored as the 2008 Outstanding Alumnus from The University of Akron's School of Accountancy