Somerset Accountant asks: 'What Are Your Expectations For Our Relationship?'

Somerset Accountant asks: 'What Are Your Expectations For Our Relationship?'

April 1, 2012

One of the great tasks of a business owner, as I see it from my perch as a Somerset-area accountant who deals with many local business owners, is to be the one who sets a direction for the communication of your business’ message. It’s become quite a task with so many consumers and clients having their own “bullhorn” (if you will) on social media, blogs, etc.

Achieving CLARITY in your communications has become a critically-important skill for the business owner, especially if you deal with consumers. So, I thought I’d meditate on this a bit this week — yes, accountants aren’t exactly known as great communicators, as a tribe, but

I hope you’re seeing that we’re not exactly your grandfather’s accounts, are we?Your Somerset Accountant Asks: Do Your Clients Know Your Expectations?

Over the course of each year, I get a couple phone calls from clients — even those who see us regularly, as they’re here in the Somerset Area area — who think they are not getting perfect service from us (and a whole lot more that tell me the happy opposite, I’m glad to be able to say). I’ve learned that this is par for the course–and not to panic about it!  

Almost all of these calls start with, ‘Mark, I read in your newsletter that client service is important to you, and I just wanted you to know…’ or ‘A few months ago when I was on hold I heard that you wanted me to call you if I had a problem that wasn’t being taken care of…’ etc. Sure, nobody likes getting calls like this, but in another way, I LOVE COMPLAINTS! What’s the alternative? For most businesses, the customer really doesn’t want the hassle of complaining. The customer who doesn’t care enough about you or your staff to say anything.

The customer who goes to the competition, and not only doesn’t recommend you to others, but perhaps “badmouths” you. Sure, I don’t like getting these calls, but I love clients who give us the opportunity to make them happy. Here’s my advice: Find as many ways as you can to tell your customers that you want to know if they are not happy. But if you’re going to ask for input from customers, you need to act when you get it.

Every client who writes to us or emails us at our firm, whether it’s a good comment or a complaint, gets a response. And we do everything we can to fix the problem. Again, every chance you have, tell your customers you want to hear from them if they’re not totally happy.  This signals something about your business which is actually quite refreshing, in my experience! Tell them when they are on hold on the telephone. Tell them with signs in your store or office. Tell them in your advertising. Tell them when you communicate via email. Tell them on your web site. Tell them every way you can. Of course, another reason you want to ask for those complaints is so you can fix the things that went wrong in the first place… but there’s another great reason.

Your team members aren’t likely to forget your customer service expectations when they know that your customers know them and that you want your customers to tell you when they don’t get excellent service.