As a recently-promoted senior accountant in Kreischer Miller’s Tax Strategies group, client service and direct client interaction are not necessarily the first duties of my prior role as a staff accountant that come to mind. A lot of a tax staff's time is spent in the office, preparing tax returns using client information gathered by our managers and senior accountants. I seldom travel to a client’s office, whereas an auditor may spend most of their time offsite at client locations. And, I am most likely not the team member a client will reach out to with questions or concerns.
With that said, though, it is important to recognize and keep in mind that in such a client-focused and service-based industry, everything we do is reflected to the client – even if it doesn’t always happen face-to-face. I have an opportunity every day to make a positive impression, whether directly or indirectly, on a client’s experience with our firm. Delivering excellent client service and positive interactions results from communication within the firm as well as the timeliness and professionalism of our interactions with clients directly.
An important key to excellent client service that we experience daily, but may be overlooked, is communication and timeliness within the firm. Clients may have deadlines or expectations that they discuss with a manager or senior, and it is important for all of us to work together to ensure these requests are fulfilled. When you commit to a timeline with your coworkers, you are also fulfilling a commitment to the client. Progress can be communicated daily within the firm to ensure that the work is on track and that the client can be made aware of what to expect. This communication among our own team members helps to ensure that clients are a constant part of the process and are receiving the services they requested.
When you do meet directly with clients, simple professional rules apply. Dress appropriately, show up on time, listen, communicate strategies and expectations clearly, and follow through with your plan. It may be easy to get caught up in the details of the job and forget that the client is our priority. So it is important to explain everything the client needs to know clearly and in a way that they will understand. This begins with listening and trying to learn exactly what services they need and why. Once we’re on the same page, we can move forward with a strategy and a plan to follow through with their requests. While the client’s job is being completed, it’s really important to continue the communication by responding to phone calls or emails in a timely manner. Even if we cannot fulfill a request at that moment, we can call and discuss when we will be able to assist them.
In short, accounting is a service-based business and ultimately clients choose firms that they can trust to get the job done. Even though it may feel as if we are not working directly with the client at times, everything that we do is reflected to them. Good internal communication, timeliness, and professionalism are significant keys to ensure that our clients are receiving the best possible service that we can offer.
Matt Romig is a Senior Accountant in Kriescher Miller’s Tax Strategies group. He joined Kreischer Miller in January 2017 upon graduation from West Chester University. In his spare time he enjoys sports, the beach, and country music concerts. Contact Matt at Email.
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