Now's the Time to Improve Your Client Retention—Here's How

By Lisa Rhatigan

Now's the Time to Improve Your Client Retention – TaxAct Professional

Congratulations! You've completed another tax season, and hopefully it was efficient and profitable for you. While now is a good time to take a deep breath and relax after a busy few months, it's also the perfect time to reach out to your clients for their feedback.

Improve client retention through an email survey

You will get the most valuable input from clients when their tax experience with you is still relatively fresh in their minds. It's a great time to send out a quick email survey – probably no more than five questions – to find out what you're doing well and what you can improve.

Sometimes the smallest tweak to the way you communicate with or serve your clients can have a significant impact on your ability to retain them and grow your practice.

Deciding what questions to ask

When you're deciding what survey questions to ask your clients, think about how you'll use the information. Although it may seem important to cover all aspects of the customer's experience with you – scheduling the appointment, communication, the tax preparation process, and overall service – don't bother asking about something you aren't willing or able to change.

We recommend using a 4-point satisfaction scale to eliminate the "neutral" answer option: very satisfied, satisfied, unsatisfied, and very unsatisfied.

For each satisfaction question, include a comments section to allow clients to elaborate on their answer.

Wrap up your survey with a general, open-ended question asking for suggestions.

For example:

Please rate your satisfaction with the following:

1. The process for scheduling an appointment to complete your tax return:
        Very satisfied      Satisfied       Unsatisfied     Very unsatisfied

2. Our communication about preparation for your appointment:
        Very satisfied      Satisfied       Unsatisfied     Very unsatisfied

3. The quality of our tax preparation service:
        Very satisfied      Satisfied       Unsatisfied     Very unsatisfied

4. The timeliness of our service:
        Very satisfied      Satisfied       Unsatisfied     Very unsatisfied

5. Our ability to answer your questions:
        Very satisfied      Satisfied       Unsatisfied     Very unsatisfied

Do you have additional suggestions for how we can improve your experience with our firm?

This short survey, while posing no significant imposition on your clients, will give you a wealth of information to help you improve client service.

However, remember that asking your clients for input and then not doing anything with the results can have a greater negative impact on client retention than if you had never asked.

If you do a client satisfaction survey, be prepared to act on the results. Doing so will strengthen your client relationships, improve retention, and grow your practice.

There are many affordable, and often times free, feedback survey tools for you to utilize. Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, Wufoo and Zoomerang all have free options for you to get started.

About Lisa Rhatigan

Lisa is Vice President of Business-to-Business Marketing at TaxAct. Prior to joining TaxAct, Lisa was a principal in a business development consulting firm that helped CPA firms and other professional service firms grow their businesses.

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