Client retention is probably the number one concern of buyers when purchasing a new CPA, Enrolled Agent, Tax or Accounting firm. Client retention is directly related to good client service, which is important all the time, not just when acquiring a new book of business.

Keeping your current clients happy will solve a number of problems for your firm. It will boost your bottom line and referrals will increase so you won’t have to continually be on the lookout for new clients.

A study led by the Bay Street Group stated that 70% of CPA clients leave a firm because they received poor client service and/or didn’t get the attention they believed they deserved. The same study showed that CPAs believe that just 22% left for the same reason. Clearly, there is a disconnect, so how can you truly find out how your clients view your firm?

Use a survey to determine your level of client service

The best way to know if your clients are happy is to measure their satisfaction. One way is to conduct a survey. Here are 6 ways to write and deliver a survey that will bring you the information you need to keep your clients content.

  1. Start with a clear explanation of the purpose of the survey. Let your clients know that their opinion is valuable, but don’t make promises about how things will changed based on the results of the survey.
  2. Write questions using a simple tone, using words that you hear from your clients. Don’t use accounting jargon or terms they may be unfamiliar with.
  3. Make your questions factual. Don’t use leading questions to sway their answer or to make your firm look good. Remember, you want honest results to improve your service and relationship with your clients.
  4. Keep your survey short. A survey with 10 questions or less is a perfect amount. Their time is important, too. They’ll appreciate it.
  5. Allow them to write in answers or comments. This may give you valuable insight that you hadn’t considered. It’s difficult to know every issue that a client may consider as important.
  6. Send the survey to ALL of your clients. Yes, even the pesky ones that always have an opinion on everything. By asking them for their input, you’ll begin the process of improving your relationship with them.
  7. Timing is everything.  Send the survey out either annually or after work has been performed. Your client service and work will be fresh in their mind.

Good client service begins when the results roll in

Once you send out the survey, the work is just starting. Review the results on a regular basis. You may even consider adding the results to your business or marketing plan. Dig deep into the areas that score low or where you seem to have negative comments. Don’t breeze by the positive results. Be sure to share good news with your team and even reward specific employees who are mentioned by name.

A survey can be a valuable tool in keeping and attracting new clients. Do the work and send out a survey!