You don’t need us to tell you how chaotic this time of year can be. You’re already in the thick of it.
Yet, despite EOFY being the busiest time of year for the financial services industry, clients also want to hear from you the most. But how do you do that when you’re juggling hundreds of clients?
“There are so many demands on time for people in finance, especially at this time of year,” says Business Growth Expert Caren Hendrie (who’s given accountants a few hot tips as well). These are her top tips for having better conversations with your clients during EOFY.
1. Your clients want to hear from you. Now.
Don’t underestimate people’s desire for connection.
During the many COVID-19 lockdowns, shifting to a no-contact way of working was the only option. But now we’re out the other side of the pandemic, Caren says, “We should be doing everything we possibly can to connect with clients.”
We know, we know. That’s easier said than done when you’re smack bang in the middle of EOFY. But it’s about finding a balance – and that’s where using digital software comes in. “Clients need – and expect – to hear from their finance people, now,” says Caren. “So, if sending a text message can help you do that, I think those are the opportunities you should be looking for.”
2. Yes, you can buy time.
If you’re sitting on the fence about ‘going digital’, Caren says it’s time to hop down – and do it. It’s one of the few ways you can buy time.
These days, automation is a no-brainer. There is research galore that shows the many positive benefits of automating business workflows, and that includes client communication.
“If you can automate something 80%, then you can humanise the other 20%,” explains Caren. “If software can do that 80% for you, why wouldn’t you let it and redeploy those resources to respond faster and grow your business?”
People don’t have time to wait seven working days for a reply. So, anything that helps you respond quicker is a big win in Caren’s book.
“It can be very hard to get through to people using email. But people are always on their phones.
We can send one message to 1000 clients and save hundreds of phone calls.
3. Having software isn’t enough. You’ve got to use it.
So, you’ve implemented some digital software. Nice job. But are you actually using it in the best possible way?
Caren says that almost every business owner she’s ever spoken with (and that’s a lot!) is paying a subscription fee for something they don’t use. So, this comes back to whether your software is the right fit for your practice.
“It’s not just about using software to save time so you can increase client engagement. It’s about finding software that can help you connect with clients better.”
For Caren and her team, SMS has proven its value time and time again – and clients are loving it too.
“Our clients have responded really well to SMS. I think it’s a point of uniqueness and a way to stand out in a very saturated market,” says Caren. “SMS is also helping us show people that we’re more than just your tax agent. We’re here to help you manage and grow your business.”
4. Get ahead of the deadline game.
One of the main reasons accountants and financial planners feel so much stress at this time of year is because clients leave things to the last minute. However, that’s often a result of poor communication around deadlines – and what it means for clients.
“We don’t just send out messages to our clients saying, ‘Hey, this is the deadline.’ We say, ‘Hey, this is the deadline. If you don’t get your information to us by this date, we can’t guarantee we’ll get it filed on time, and you risk being fined,’” says Caren.
While bigger practices might have the resources to spend all day calling up clients, that isn’t the reality for most people in finance. “If you can take some of the load off your teams, so that they’ve got time to get the actual technical stuff done, you can relieve some of the stress that often weighs heavily on finance teams at this time of year.”
5. Show your clients you care.
Most business owners know they aren’t your only clients. But that doesn’t mean they don’t expect personal, responsive service. In fact, it’s what they want the most.
Once again, that’s where SMS can help you cut through the noise and get your clients’ attention in a memorable way.
Imagine being able to send all your clients a Happy New EOFY message on the first of July with a click of a button.
“Right now, you probably can’t ring every client and do that. But if you could do it as a personalised SMS, that makes you stand out.”
“That’s good for your clients, but also good for your business.”
Caren believes those practices that find new ways to connect with their clients will reap the benefits. “More and more accountants are becoming not just tax agents, but business advisors too. A lot of the time, it’s simply repurposing what you already do and charging for it, instead of letting it slip through the cracks,” says Caren. “But to do that, you need to find a new way to communicate with your clients and at scale. The answer is SMS.”
Build trust with your clients.
When business owners don’t have the answers, they turn to people they trust. Get back to them with a simple text message.