Setting and meeting client expectations can be the key to running a successful bookkeeping firm. Happy clients can propel your firm to success, while unhappy clients can be your business’s downfall. Don’t forget, the best referrals come from word of mouth. The more happy clients you have, the more clients you can acquire too, thereby scaling your firm to new heights.
That’s why managing expectations is vital. If everybody knows what to expect AND those expectations are met, your bookkeeping clients will be more satisfied with the service they are receiving. Setting and meeting client expectations will also allow you to increase productivity, mitigate risk, and reduce churn. So, here are some of our tips for managing client expectations at your bookkeeping firm!
Find the Right Clients
If you’re attracting the wrong sort of client from the start, then it will be very difficult to build a productive and profitable relationship with them. This is why acquisition is so important. It won’t be so difficult to manage client expectations if you have the right clients to begin with. You can find the right clients by targeting them in your marketing. Start by defining your ideal client. What field do they work in? What are their needs? Your marketing materials should reflect this vision. Evaluate prospective clients carefully to make sure they are a good match.
Simultaneously, you should be defining your service offerings. Having your offerings documented will help prospective clients know exactly what they can expect to be delivered and at what price point, minimizing the risk of miscommunication.
First impressions are everything in business, which is why your onboarding process is an essential first step in developing a successful client relationship. Of course, many challenges could be standing between you and an effective onboarding process. Onboarding is stressful. There’s a lot of information to absorb and you and your client are practically strangers. However, onboarding is also the time when expectations are set.
Despite the challenges, there are ways you can simplify your onboarding process and kick things off on the right foot. Standardizing and documenting your processes so that you don’t miss a single, vital step AND you can ensure all clients get the same treatment. The process can typically be broken down into the following stages, which can then be broken down further: receive contract and send welcome email, gather client information, set up projects and apps, have a kickoff meeting, send a welcome package, and transition to your bookkeeping team.
Consistency is key, and you can meet your client’s expectations through your monthly services. While you have most expectations set during onboarding, it’s never too late to course correct. As you work with your client, continue to check in and communicate about needs and issues together. All relationships take work, and business relationships are no different. This constant attention will allow those relationships to flourish. It would be best if you also were doing your best to keep your client in the loop. A newsletter could be a great way to announce change and other important news regularly!
Retention & Expansion
At the end of the day, your goal should always be retaining your clients and encouraging their loyalty to your business. To keep your clients around, you must be willing to adapt and willing to listen. Like all professions, the bookkeeping landscape evolves as technology improves and client needs change. It’s important to stay up-to-date so that you can offer your clients competitive services. As time passes and you retain your clients, you should also look for ways to increase your value and upsell your services.
If you keep your clients happy, demonstrate your value consistently, and understand your client’s needs, more opportunities for your business will always arise naturally.