Don’t answer client questions later, answer them now

October 1, 2021 Neil Glover
Single source of truth

We’ve all been there: on the phone with a client who wants answers now, unable to find the information we need in the mess of a thousand records. 

It’s embarrassing. It gives the impression you don’t know what you’re doing. And it’s frustrating for the client. They don’t have time to hang around on the phone listening to you searching.

Conversely, there’s nothing quite as impressive as giving the correct answer immediately. Even though they know, logically, that it can’t be the case, an instant response makes them feel as if they’re the only client you’ve got on the books.

It also sends a strong signal about efficiency and capability – relax, we’ve got this under control.

This is exactly the kind of customer experience AIRPA’s universal search is designed to deliver.

Tap in the client’s name on the dashboard, or that of the business, and you’ll see everything, from financial data in Xero to emails to long-forgotten spreadsheets.

It’s easy to filter that information, too, so you can quickly narrow it down to the file you need. Use it right and in the time it takes you to make a little small talk, you’ll have the information in front of you and be able to answer the client’s questions seamlessly.

“I’ll get right back to you”

In the days of paper records, people were trained to put the client on hold or promise to get back to them within the hour. That approach still works.

Things often unravel when panic kicks in, or if the client is especially challenging. It’s totally acceptable to say, “I don’t have that answer at hand. Give me 30 minutes and I’ll get back to you.”

That puts you back in control and sets a clear expectation for the client. Of course, you then have to meet the deadline you’ve set yourself – but at least it won’t be with a handset crooked uncomfortably under your ear.

Whether it’s digital or otherwise, having tidy data properly filed, tagged or otherwise structured will also help. There shouldn’t be any files in your system called ‘untitled’ or that aren’t associated, one way or another, with a particular client or owner.

And time spent sorting and cleaning up your records is always well spent – as accountants, of course, tell their clients on a regular basis.

Practice management and CRMs

Customer relationship management (CRM) and practice management software are both good places to start if you want to get serious about managing relationships with clients in a systematic way.

Maintaining up-to-date records of your firm’s dealings with each client means you can jump back into the conversation days, weeks or months apart. From billing status to communications preferences, they make it easy to get a clear picture at a snap.

AIRPA integrates with HubSpot and AccountancyManager, market-leading CRM and practice management packages respectively. They’re both powerful, highly-evolved applications which are worth you looking at.

The benefit of that AIRPA integration is that it effectively takes those software solutions to the next level, adding depth to the client information they provide.

Without AIRPA, you’ll find yourself juggling multiple windows, trying to remember multiple logins. With AIRPA, it’s simple and seamless.

When a client calls, through our single login, you can start the conversation in the client’s top level record before using universal search to drill down into correspondence, emails, Xero and anything else you need.

With one version of the truth at your fingertips, your clients will feel reassured and ready to engage.

Get setup with AIRPA to improve customer experience and give your practice the edge.