Tax returns: Your key to better client service
Continuing her series of articles offering help for Self Assessment season, Finola McManus suggests that the wait for clients to turn up with their information is an opportunity to improve your relationship with them.
With Christmas looming, how many tax returns have you still to complete? Are you finding it difficult to track down clients for missing information and dread how you are going to complete the outstanding workload in the time available? Clients seem to be increasingly grumpy?
Read on if any of the above strikes a chord and see what you can apply in your own practice that may bring some welcome relief – not just to your state of mind, but to your fee income too.
- Assuming that all clients received a letter and “tax return information checklist” from you back in April and have yet to respond, then call them if you haven't done so already. If you know a client doesn't respond to letters then they are unlikely to respond if you just keep sending more letters to them. A quick call, offering to collect their information can sometimes be all that is needed to smooth the process. It also avoids an increase in your blood pressure as they drop paperwork into your office on 29 January.
Look to the future...
- Once you get to 1 February then strike again whilst the iron is hot. Don't allow yourself to sit back and relax and think “thank goodness for that”.
- Book out the first week in February to review where it went right in 2010 and what needs to change in 2011.
- Put systems in place to ensure that 2011 is your year to improve those client service levels and increase fees... more of which I will cover in my next article.
Finola McManus is a chartered accountant and former senior partner, who now runs her own consultancy service, Practice Perfect.