Timely, proactive communications
1. Return phone calls.
Sounds simple enough. So why don’t people do it? Are they afraid? Are they lazy? Don’t want to bear bad news?
Returning calls is a fundamental practice that all of our people live by. And always have. Someone needs to talk to you, often for reasons you don’t even realise. Talk to them! And if you are in a meeting, be sure to call them back as soon as you are able to.
2. Encourage clients to communicate.
We hear that clients are afraid to pick up the phone and talk to their accountant. To ask their advice or seek reassurance. Afraid that they will get another bill from a person on the other end of the phone who counts every minute.
So, we don’t charge for telephone calls. Ever! We want to be accessible and available. In fact, we work for most clients for agreed fixed fees to help reduce that fear of becoming the victim of the timesheet. Clients find it very refreshing. And as a result, they talk to us!
3. Update, update, update.
We pass everything on. When we work on behalf of clients, discuss matters with other professionals or receive any form of relevant information, we always keep our client in the loop. They learn to quickly determine relevance and priority.
Sounds crazy, but we even hear from new clients that in the past they were often unaware of huge tax bills due with only a few days’ notice. True, they may have been told once before, but that is not the same as being reminded and updated as to payment schedules and all charges.
4. Tell the bad news… straight away.
Not all news is good news. We don’t shy away from this. We have learned that clients are often anxious about decisions and want to know. Even when surprises arise, they don’t want news delayed.