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How Does Automation Improve Client Engagement?

July 19, 2021

According to research from Receipt Bank, accounting firms that drive efficiency through automated processes can become up to five times more valuable than those opting for traditional methods.

Streamlining client engagement — an important metric when assessing a firm’s success — has become a must in the evolving digital age where competition is fierce. In the past, the only way to engage with clients was through face-to-face interactions. 

Now, technology and engagement go hand in hand. You can meet prospective and returning clients in their inbox, on social media, and at any time of day or night, anywhere in the world. 

Discover how you can leverage the power of technology to boost client engagement and help position your firm as a leader in the accounting field.

What Is Client Engagement, and Why Is it Important for Accountants?

Simply put, client engagement is how firms build and maintain relationships with their customers. Strategic client engagement is about creating a two-way conversation between you and your client to add value and convert them into loyal customers.

Effective communication is the ultimate fuel for customer engagement. When you fully understand your customers’ needs and pain points, you’re instantly better equipped to provide them with practical solutions. In this way, clients feel heard, and you strike a connection, leading to longstanding relationships and a high retention rate. 

But how can automation help?

Communication is not as simple as picking up the phone nowadays. Clients are more demanding, and convenience is a priority. These points alone emphasise the strong connection between technology and engagement. 

Although the accounting sector may not be a trailblazer when it comes to implementing modern approaches, by harnessing the power of technology, automated tools can help free up time while improving client engagement.

Client Engagement Strategies with Automation

80% of high-performing accountancy firms say adding value to their existing clients is their most effective means of growing. By automating certain tasks, you can help improve your clients’ experience and encourage them to keep coming back. 

Chatbots

One of the best client engagement strategies is to start a conversation between your firm and your clients — by giving them the opportunity to come to you at any time with their queries. However, replying quickly and consistently can be a stressful and time-consuming task. 

An automated chatbot tool could be the perfect solution, as it gives your firm a chance to be responsive without taking any time out of your schedule. 

When a client visits your website and has a simple query, instead of directing them to information-heavy FAQ pages or an email address with the promise of a reply within seven days, some tech-savvy firms are turning to chatbots. These machine-learning powered tools can answer questions straightaway without human involvement or, for more complex issues, log messages and guarantee a human reply.

With these bots, you can deliver an excellent customer service experience easily and efficiently. Of course, a robot can’t answer every question, but it’s the beginning of your client’s journey to a solution.

Appointment booking system

A transparent, client-facing booking solution forms a fundamental part of an effective client engagement strategy. We live in an era where everything needs to be convenient and a click away. If your firm only offers bookings over the phone during working hours, you could risk losing vital business.

By implementing an automatic booking system, where clients can select an appointment from the dates available, you cut out the needless back and forth of scheduling an appointment. You can also avoid double-booking and the stress that can bring.

With a booking (and cancellation) tool, clients benefit from a clear, instant and convenient experience, which works to build client engagement — a win-win for everyone involved.

Automatic reminders

There will be times when you need to chase up clients for certain things. Doing this manually not only takes up valuable time, but it can also be frustrating for clients when they don’t fully understand when, how and to whom they’re expected to pay.

Setting regular automatic reminders is an easy way to keep your clients in the loop. For example, you can automate reminders for:

  • Requesting missing information
  • Upcoming tax payments
  • Upcoming invoice payments

Empowering your clients with this kind of information helps them stay engaged with the firm. They feel looked after and don’t have to worry about missing any vital deadlines. It’s also a key component of a client engagement strategy that will free up time spent on tedious administrative tasks.

Feedback

An effective way of boosting client engagement is to focus on their concerns. Technology can make this easier and can streamline the feedback process. Using regular automated surveys, you can give your clients the opportunity to provide anonymous feedback without you having to chase them up on their opinion. 

However, it’s not enough to simply collect feedback and leave it in a digital drawer, as your clients won’t feel heard. Instead, use the insights gathered to implement real, viable changes in your firm. 

If your clients see their opinions matter and their concerns are shaping the running of the business, they’ll feel like a valuable partner, boosting their overall experience and strengthening relationships. 

Automation doesn’t have to be the death of “the personal touch”. Combining technology and engagement can help you invest more time in your client relationships to build a long-lasting partnership. Driving efficiencies through automation simply helps you focus on what really matters — growing your firm with loyal clients.

Expand Your Accounting Network at INAA

Here at INAA, we connect accounting firms who aim to deliver quality professional services around a shared vision to make global business personal, and take personal business global. 

With every industry change, our collaborative association of international businesses is committed to being a part of the conversation around auditing and accounting.

Join today to start building powerful business relationships.