How Tax Clients Prefer to Communicate with Their Advisors
In today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, businesses are constantly trying to find better ways to communicate with their current and potential customers. Good communication allows companies to reach new clients and maintain the loyalty of old ones.
Even in accounting, an industry known for its no-nonsense approach to marketing, advertising, and customer service, businesses are employing innovative communication strategies, such as texting, social media, and online reviews.
All communication is not good communication, however. Many organizations make the mistake of communicating with their clients ineffectively. They bombard their clients with texts, come across as too aggressive, and some even post fake online reviews.
Weave recently commissioned a nationwide study and collected statistics on the communication preferences of accounting and financial service customers. The data shows that clients want their financial professionals to communicate with them in a way that’s reasonable, relevant, and real. They prefer limited communication that’s pertinent to their financial situation and authentic in its approach.
Below is a look at the numbers on customer communication preferences. We now understand how often to contact clients, what to contact them about, and how to use social media to establish great online review ratings.
By combining this knowledge with Weave’s unique interface, your business can achieve optimally efficient communication with its customers.
Optimizing Communication with Your Tax Clients
Customers often don’t want to be contacted by businesses. They are already assaulted on a daily basis by billboards, spam emails, and commercials that stream with the click of every online video clip. Contact with businesses in our consumer society is inescapable.
In fact, 79% of financial clients regularly feel overwhelmed by the number of businesses trying to communicate with them. Again, this overwhelming feeling makes sense; we all get unsolicited texts from random companies, out-of-the-blue voicemails, and junk mail in our inbox.
This statistic, however, doesn’t mean clients want to be left alone at all times. Businesses need to communicate with their clients in a reasonable manner. Contact should be restrained, measured, and deliberate.
A reasonable amount of communication is especially vital for customers dealing with taxes. Outside of making a down payment on a home or taking out a loan for higher education, filing taxes each year is perhaps the single most important financial event in a calendar year for many people.
Consequently, reminders, alerts, and follow-ups are not merely convenient for those filing their taxes; they are essential. This communication helps keep clients on their toes and out of trouble with the IRS.
So, how often do clients of financial advisors want to be contacted?
Data from an independent study suggest that customers want to hear from their financial professionals frequently, but not too frequently. Be reasonable. This seems logical, and the stats match that intuition.
17% of financial clients want to be contacted no more than twice per year. Adding to the importance of that statistic, 71% of financial advisor clients say they are more loyal to advisors that only communicate when it’s truly relevant
In the context of tax preparation, these numbers make sense. Tax professionals and their clients need to file annually. Outside of this important annual occasion, contact should be maintained, but not overemphasized.
Yet many companies insist on assaulting their clients with calls, texts, and emails. This begs the question: how much communication is too much communication?
How much Communication is Too Much?
9% of financial clients consider being contacted every few months too much. 21% of them think being contacted every month is excessive. And almost half of all financial advisor clients, 48%, say that weekly contact with a business is unreasonable.
Clearly, a balance needs to be found. Weekly contact is too frequent for most clients. Communication every few weeks to every few months seems to be the sweet spot for the vast majority of customers.
Now that we’ve clarified how often to reach out to financial clients, let’s see what they want to hear from their advisor.
What to Contact Clients About
While most clients feel overwhelmed by businesses trying to communicate with them, they still understand the need to do so, and even prefer to hear from the businesses serving them. This is why it’s important to communicate with them no more than is reasonable.
Strikingly, 94% of financial clients pay attention to communication if it’s relevant to something in their life. People want the essentials; nothing more, nothing less.
Weave’s research reveals what the acceptable and unacceptable reasons to contact clients are.
Unacceptable Reasons to Contact Clients
- Sale Announcements
This is a surprising response. Although everyone loves a good sale, financial advisor clients don’t want to be directly contacted about discounts. Sales should be announced in a more discrete, less aggressive fashion.
- Feedback Surveys
Despite being incredibly informative when it comes to understanding clients’ experiences and developing strategies, surveys are not something customers want to be contacted about. Businesses should find other ways to collect this vital information.
- New Product Announcements
Like the other two unacceptable reasons, new product or service announcements are typically thought of as standard practice. However, be wary of directly contacting clients about these developments.
Acceptable Reasons to Contact Clients
- Appointment Reminders
Financial advisor clients show a clear preference for being reminded about their upcoming appointments. Making appointments can be the difference between receiving a refund and paying a penalty.
- Fraud Alerts
In the case of financial services, bad news can be good news. Though they don’t look forward to updates about fraud, customers want to be warned about any impending threats to their wealth. Failure to notify them results in a lack of trust.
A distinction should be made between follow-ups and feedback surveys. Without recent services being provided, surveys annoy the majority of clients. If these same surveys are conducted within the context of an appointment follow-up, customers are likely to give feedback.
Again, notice the difference between acceptable and unacceptable reasons to communicate with your clients. Focusing contact on upcoming meetings, imminent threats, and timely follow-ups builds rapport with customers. Hitting them with unnecessary promotions and surveys only creates low-level resentment that eventually alienates them from your services.
We’ve also gathered some intel on how financial advisor clients prefer to be contacted. Unsurprisingly, they like the usual means of communication: phone calls and emails. They also increasingly prefer to hear from businesses via text.
Not only can businesses send their clients appointment reminders, fraud alerts, and follow-ups through text messaging, but they can also collect payments by text. Payment by text is rapidly gaining popularity because of its convenient and casual approach.
Unfortunately, most financial clients don’t know about this payment option. 68% of financial clients are not even aware that it’s possible to make a payment with a text message. However, 24% of them are interested in making their payments by text.
Relevant communication is imperative to success in the financial services industry.
Avoiding direct contact with customers about sales, surveys, and service updates while giving consistent appointment reminders, timely fraud alerts, and prompt follow-ups ensures this success. This contact should take place over the phone, through email, and, increasingly, via text.
How to Use Social Media to Connect with Clients
Financial customers want to be contacted in a reasonable and relevant way. They also want to connect in real ways. Establishing authentic connection through social media is an important point of communication for any modern business.
The phrase “authentic connection through social media” may sound like an oxymoron to some. Much of the communication that happens on social media is inauthentic and downright fraudulent, full of fake news, foreign bots, and catfishing.
Luckily, Weave has discovered the top reasons clients want and don’t want to connect with their financial professionals through social media. Communicating with clients for the right reasons over social media creates the type of connection that leads to customers returning to your business each and every tax season.
Right Reasons to Connect on Social Media
- Helpful Tips
Customers go to a tax company’s social media feed to get pointers on filing taxes. This reason returns to the idea of sharing information directly relevant to clients’ lives. When customers feel their financial professional is providing useful tax tidbits over social media (as opposed to random industry facts), customers gain respect and trust for the business they hired.
- New Services
Social media is also an appropriate place to share new services. Earlier in the article, we mentioned that customers don’t want to be directly contacted about new products or services. Social media give businesses a place to publicize new developments without coming across as overly aggressive.
- Reading Reviews
Clients don’t want to write reviews on social media, but they are all about reading them. This preference dovetails nicely with the other two reasons customers want to connect on social media. They are trying to learn and feel comfortable with their tax advisor.
Wrong Reasons to Connect on Social Media
- Requesting Reviews
Financial clients see review writing as working for the organization that they’re already paying to help them file their taxes. While customer reviews are incredibly important, it’s best to collect them in more direct ways than asking for reviews over social media.
- Interaction with Other Clients
Although people are constantly seeking to connect with others through social media, they’re not interested in chatting with other clients. They want to connect with the business itself; connecting with other customers is beside the point.
- Hearing Industry News
While many businesses are fascinated by the developments within their own industry, their clients are not. That’s why they hired a specialist in the first place! It’s fine to let customers know about industry news in appointments to establish some professional gravitas, but it’s overkill to share this knowledge via social media.
Upon reflection, it is obvious why financial clients want and don’t want to connect on social media. They have no interest in generating content for a business, starting needless conversations with other clients, or learning trivial facts about the financial industry. They are seeking immediately useful information that they couldn’t find anywhere else.
Data indicates that financial clients prefer to communicate with their professional in ways that are reasonable, relevant, and real.
Reasonable communication is consistent, but not excessive. Contact clients no more than every few weeks or months. Anything more than this level of contact is too much.
Relevant communication focuses on upcoming appointments, fraud alerts, and follow-ups. It’s standard practice to use phone calls and email to reach out to customers, but texting is becoming a significant point of contact as well.
Real communication over social media entails tips, new services, and reviews from other clients. This type of communication establishes an authentic connection with clients.
All of these factors eventually lead to outstanding reviews online. Most customers won’t leave reviews, but a foundation of effective communication greatly increases the likelihood that your business receives excellent ratings.
87% of customers will not consider a financial professional with less than a four-star rating online. Additionally, clients and potential clients trust customer reviews twice as much as conventional advertisements. Clearly, great online ratings are a must in the contemporary marketplace.
Once great online ratings are established, businesses thrive. These ratings can be shared over social media, and effective communication becomes a self-sustaining resource for your business.
Weave’s complete business toolbox facilitates unified communication and the collection of online reviews across multiple platforms.