How to capitalize on loyalty from satisfied clients during tax season
March 04, 2016

Referrals are an excellent way for accounting firms to gain new business. They're one of the most cost-effective client acquisition methods and lead to a dependable customer base. While some professionals shy away from asking for referrals - often out of fear of bothering the person in front of them - Entrepreneur said receiving one is the highest compliment a business can get. There's no shame in asking for a recommendation from a particularly satisfied client. In fact, they'll usually be happy to share their positive experience with others.

Tax season brings with it many individuals and small-business owners who need help sorting through their financial statements from the previous year. While the abundance of customers may be overwhelming at times, accountants and bookkeepers should strive to make every interaction as beneficial as possible. The more happy clients they help during this stressful time, the better positioned they are to receive referrals.

Capitalizing on happy customers
Satisfied clients turn into loyal customers who bring their friends and colleagues. According to LinkedIn, referred individuals are less risky for a business to work with. They also tend to spend more and have fewer objections. Accounting professionals can find the majority of their referred clients via those they help during tax season.

A referral request shouldn't be hidden within other paperwork. Rather, a direct email, phone call or in-person conversation is the best approach. Doing so puts the idea right in the client's mind, and he or she is less likely to overlook or forget about it.

The request should also be personal - LinkedIn wrote personalized appeals saw a 41 percent higher response rate than mass messages. Personalization should be a factor in all areas of business. Clients want to feel like individuals, and paying direct attention to each one increases their overall satisfaction.

Finally, accountants and bookkeepers should be specific about what they're asking for. People remember individual details, not broad terms. Accounting and bookkeeping firms should ask for a specific number of names or list detailed services they think their client's colleagues need.

After a client has sent a referral, accountants and bookkeepers should take time to thank them. A simple handwritten note works well to maintain a positive business relationship and make the client feel appreciated.

Sage knows the importance of customer satisfaction and dependable referrals. With the Sage Accountants Network, members receive the tools to better assist their clients throughout the year.

Nexus: G-WEBCD6