As you likely know, retaining customers is cheaper than acquiring them. And customer retention is the engine that keeps a business ticking over.
Ultimately, customer retention is about keeping your customers happy. It’s that simple and it’s that hard.
Front of house offerings are often the focus of customer retention; these are the offerings that you advertise, whether it’s bookkeeping, fresh fruit and vegetables, carpentry, or whatever your business is known for.
However, behind the scenes, specifically in your accounts, you can find data and tools to help you improve your customer retention.
Here’s where and how you can find those tools to impress and retain those valuable customers.
Accounting software and real-time data
Accounting software is not usually associated with customer service and client relationships, but software’s real-time data can help you make some customer-friendly decisions.
For instance, you can:
- Keep a closer eye on expenses, allowing you to alter your product or service costs and ultimately keep prices reasonable for your customers.
- Maintain accurate, timely invoicing, so you don’t lose trust
- Expedite your customer service by moving your account information to digital, giving you or your customer service staff quicker access to client information and insights
Customer-friendly sales processes
In many cases, accounting software has benefits for customer relationships and sales processes.
- Automating invoices, for instance, can mean that invoices go straight into your accounts software, payment reminders are automated and the whole payment system is smoother.
- If you’re using the same accounting software as your clients or customers, this makes things even easier, with synchronized, predictable payments and receipts.
- For accountants and bookkeepers, customers will value being able to take pictures of receipts, invoices and bank statements and email them to you, instead of hoarding and handling endless paper documents (that then have to be delivered to you).
Automation, the Gift of Time and Customer Relations
For SMEs and accountants and bookkeepers, automation also means a re-prioritising of time.
Data entry and maintaining paperwork are onerous and time-consuming. If you’re an accountant, you would rather be using your education and insight on higher-level tasks. And your client would prefer your billable hours were spent sharing this expertise than on manual data entry.
For SMEs, time otherwise spent on data entry could be spent on running other aspects of your business.
- For SMEs this could mean more time face to face with customers in your place of business, in meetings or talking through products or services.
- For accountants and bookkeepers, this means spending more time sharing your knowledge and insights.
Improved Accuracy and Trust
Automated data entry greatly reduces errors, helping maintain trust and efficiency, two valuable qualities a client looks for in a vendor.
Here are ways in which accounts automation aids communication:
- A synergised, online accounting system between vendors and clients means that invoices and receipts can be shared automatically (or electronically at least).
- In B2B instances, accounts automation can automatically generate reports, reducing labour time and giving the opportunity to communicate complex ideas in a compelling, user-friendly way.
Better uses of Time and Fairer Billing
In the case of accountants and bookkeepers, automation allows you to broaden your services and offer better value.
Earlier we mentioned automation freeing you up to offer insight and analysis. Going deeper, you can bill for assessment and money-saving opportunities for clients, as opposed to for a set number of hours.
It’s results-based billing instead of the traditional time-based billing, and it offers better value for the client and a more efficient use of your time.
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