Clients want a proactive accountant. They want you using your expertise to look out for their interests and bring them benefits that they didn't know to ask for. By being proactive, you show your initiative and you create added value.
Reactive service gives you fewer opportunities to thrill clients. You have to wait until they ask for something. When you reach out, you not only have more control, you get more credit for taking the initiative. Proactive service thrills clients.
For instance, at the new Park Hyatt Hotel in Japan, many staff members have two-way radios. The doorman peeks at the name on arrivals' luggage tags. Then he radios the front desk that can then rush to the door to greet people by name and take them straight to their rooms. Customers get personal service, feel like VIPs, and avoid the boredom of a check-in line.
Here are some examples of how being proactive helps you provide great service and build long-term relationships. (These are from the upcoming revised edition of Marketing your Services: For People Who Hate to Sell by Rick Crandall.) You can:
- Notify clients when you learn something new in their area.
- Send them a regular newsletter or E-zine.
- Acknowledge them on their anniversary of doing business with you.
- Send clippings of personal interest to them, such as their children's achievements.
- Make random calls to say hello.
- Invite them to a seminar you give or attend.
- Survey their satisfaction.
- Invite them to a customer focus group.
- Have an open house.
- Give them tickets to an event.
- Go to their trade group or convention with them.
- Give them a referral.
I'm sure you can think of other specific ideas for your clients or prospects. When you take the initiative, clients are flattered and you have more opportunities to make a good impression. And by including many non-sales contacts, you also create a deeper and more sincere relationship.
Being proactive means doing more than the minimum. Proactivity is less common because it requires both initiative and creativity. The word creativity is not synonymous with originality. Creativity refers to "discovering a unique way to meet your clients needs." Firms who continue to build quality relationships with their clients are more than qualified to understand their clients needs and wants and to serve them proactively.