This week I celebrated a big milestone. Brigade Bookkeeping (formerly DM Accounting) is now six years old. Over the last year, I changed the name of and re-branded my company as Brigade Bookkeeping, added new members to my team and have been able to grow my business tremendously. As I look back and reflect on these positive changes, I realized my success is a direct result of truly knowing my clients and customers.
If you want to grow your business, then now is the time to build or re-build your relationship with your customers. Here are some ways to do that:
- KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER OR CLIENT – You can create value by truly understanding your customer. This means you’ll have to do some research and learn the ins and outs of their business, the history of their company and the key executives or contacts within their business. When you truly understand your client, you deepen your value to them by identifying needs and offering the customer a solution to problems you might identify during your research.
- COMMUNICATE CLEARLY & OFTEN – Keeping the lines of communication open is important. I have a set call once a week, at a specific time for some of my clients, where we review our past week and look ahead to future needs. If you don’t schedule a weekly call, then make sure your clients know your office number, e-mail address and even pass along your cellphone number to your top clients. This is so they know you are available to them whenever you are needed. You may also want to consider e-mail marketing. I send out a weekly newsletter and regularly inform my clients via social media about any changes in tax law or in the accounting world. It’s an easy way to communicate clearly and often.
- SEEK CUSTOMER FEEDBACK – Knowing your customer means seeking out and then valuing his or her opinion. One way to do that is by continuously seeking customer feedback. You may want to ask your client how he or she likes a new product you’ve introduced. You may also ask for critiques or suggestions on the way you are doing business. Always responding to a client’s comments, even if you don’t like the response, is the epitome of great customer service.
- KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS HAPPY – A happy customer can be a customer for life. Not only that, happy customers tend to sing your praises and pass along new business through referrals. So remember this when you’re doing business. Answering a phone call or e-mail promptly, finishing a project on or before a deadline, or in my case, saving a customer thousands of dollars, adds value to what you do. Add to that list being honest, and you’ll continue to have loyal customers. Which in turn, can result in an ever-growing business and a quasi-sales team of sorts.
Looking back, I can’t believe how much my business has grown. I have gone from a handful of clients to more than 200 of them. This past year has been amazing, and I have both my incredible staff and you, my wonderful clients, to thank for that!