Client referrals and word of mouth are the leading source of new business for established ICB Practices. If you have loyal, happy customers they are likely to spend more with you and tell other businesses about you.
Think about developing your own brand to distinguish your business from the competition. What ‘customer experience’ can you offer your clients that they can’t get from the high street accountant? Your brand could be based on something as simple as your approachability and personal touch, but make sure you are consistent across all of your communications; be that in meetings, emails, or in your advertising.
“We try to be the ‘People’s Bookkeeper’. There’s a little bit of fun, a little but of banter. We just try to communicate well with our clients.”
Karen Jewell MICB
As your business grows you are likely to get to know your local small business community and form close relationships with your clients. Don’t overlook any opportunity to show your clients how important they are. You could invite a knowledgeable client to speak at an ICB Branch Meeting, or feature their logo and testimonial on your website.
Your clients will no doubt ask your advice on a range of topics - so repay the favour. Ask your biggest clients for advice on your new website, or find out why they hired you and what you can do to improve your service.
An annual review meeting could be a great opportunity to up-sell and cross-sell. Tell your clients what else you can offer them and about any new services you’re licensed to offer. You might choose to discuss an increase to your fees in the New Year so there are no nasty surprises. You can also take this time to tell your client that you have availability to take on new work and encourage them to put you in touch with other local businesses.
“They’ll not ask you for a service if they don’t know it will benefit them. I’ve gone in and set up things like stock systems and invoicing systems. You’ve got to see beyond the normal bookkeeping services.”
Sarah Douglas FICB
And finally, the easiest way for you to keep your customers happy is to provide an excellent service. Always try to exceed expectations; following through on your commitments and delivering ahead of schedule where possible. If ever you feel like you have taken on too much work, contact ICB for advice. If necessary you can be connected with a fellow member in your area who can help you out on a temporary basis.
Ready-made templates for your business cards & letterheads, and a guide to the compulsory information they must include.
Find out more about ICB's own regulations governing conduct and professional development for Practice Licence holders.