5 Ways Our Accounting Office Uses Text Request to Engage Clients
If your town is anything like Lancaster, PA, there are accounting firms and tax preparers on every corner. In this saturated environment, it’s imperative to stand out from your competition. Below I’m going to show you how Text Request helps our accounting firm - Manada Tax Service - stand out from the crowd and win new clients.
Why do clients switch?
When a client switches from another accounting practice to our firm, we often hear one complaint - their prior accountant did not respond to questions and concerns in a timely manner.
The tax business is deadline driven, so a delay can cost clients hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest and penalties, depending on the situation. No one wants to experience that, and if they do, they will probably find another accountants.
Why did we start using Text Request?
One of our goals has been to always provide timely responses to clients, so that we address their concerns and set them up for success.
As our firm grew, we switched from using a cell number to having an office landline. This was a good thing, but our clients were used to communicating with us via text message. Soon after the switch, they started complaining about not being able to text us anymore. They had really enjoyed the speed and convenience.
We explored several texting options, both online and via a separate cell number. Ultimately, we felt that Text Request served our needs best for the most affordable price.
Text Request lets us text clients using our office landline from our computers and other devices. It allows two-way conversations like a cell phone but also lets multiple firm members handle conversations.
All texts are automatically recorded, and clients are glad to get responses from us so much faster than from their previous accountant.
How We Engage Clients and Prospects with Text Request
1. Quickly respond to questions that keep clients up at night.
Let’s face it - everyone’s heart beats a little faster when they get a letter from the IRS. And almost everyone asks us questions about their letters.
It’s very important for the client to receive an answer as soon as possible. They want to know that their accountant is as committed to finding an answer as they are. Here’s how the process normally works for us:
- Client receives a letter from a tax authority
- Client contacts us
- We ask the client to text us a picture of the letter, so we can read it on our computers while on the phone with the them
- Client feels an immediate sense of relief as we explain the letter and any further action that is required
For example, a client recently got a letter from the IRS outlining their 2017 installment agreement payments. They immediately contacted us to understand the letter. They sent in a picture, and it turns out the letter was telling them they'd paid their balance in full! It was a great experience all-around.
2. Follow up on missing tax details.
A good tax preparer informs clients of potential tax savings that they may not have thought of on their own. Normally this means we give clients “homework” to research additional deductions or to provide us with additional tax forms.
Before Text Request, our firm spent a lot of time calling and emailing clients for this tax information. We couldn’t finish their return without it, but we struggled to get it.
It’s been our experience that clients are much quicker to respond to a text message than to other forms of communication. Texting enables our firm to finish returns more efficiently, which gets our clients their refunds faster. We’ve also increased profits because we can complete more returns without hiring more staff.
Here are a few examples of when we’ve texted clients:
- Forgot about your student loan interest form? Text us a copy.
- Text us a copy of your W2.
- Sloppy handwritten business deductions? We’ll text you to clarify the numbers.
3. Set and confirm appointments.
No-shows can be costly during tax season. Since many of our clients book their appointments months in advance, it’s very important that we send reminders.
A text message a couple of days before the appointment gives them enough notice to gather their paperwork or to reschedule the appointment if necessary. These messages are easy to send - we might just say:
Hey [Client Name], here’s a reminder about your appointment with Manada Tax Service on 3/23 at 4 pm. Is that still good for you? Thanks!
Most of the time they say “Yes,” and we are able to keep more appointments while reducing reschedules.
4. Confirm time and attendance for payroll processing.
Our firm processes payroll for small business clients around Lancaster. Before Text Request, we had to get an email from each client approving the time and attendance hours for their employees. We had to do this with every client, every pay period.
With Text Request, busy business owners can now confirm via text message without having to leave the salon chair or the auto body shop. This way, we still receive approval in writing, and our clients can continue running their business with minimal interruption. It’s a win-win!
5. Share our address with new clients.
Almost all of our clients own a smartphone with a GPS-enabled map. When a new client schedules an appointment with our office, we text them our physical address. (If they schedule via phone call, we ask if we can text them.)
Having that address in a text makes it really easy for them to find and pull up directions when appointment-time comes. Since smartphones turn addresses into clickable links, all the client does is click on the text we sent them to open up turn-by-turn directions to our business. It’s a great experience that clients appreciate.
Additional Ways We Use Text Request
In a crowded industry, it is imperative to stand out from other service providers. Text Request allows Manada Tax Service to be more responsive to our clients than our local competitors.
Every text in and out of Text Request is permanently recorded, and every firm member has access to the platform. Now when someone is in a meeting or out of the office, another member can easily respond to the client, and immediately see our history of text messages with them.
We are continually finding more opportunities to use Text Request in our practice - review requests, e-file confirmations, the list goes on. Thank you Text Request!