Off the back of HLB Mann Judd’s recent Client Choice Award win, we spoke to three-time winner of the awards, Litsa Christodulou. In this short interview, Litsa shares her thoughts on client service and the three top tips for building strong client relationships.
As professionals we all have different personalities. These traits influence how we interact with the people around us, including clients. There is no single approach that guarantees a client will be wholly satisfied with the outcome. Nevertheless, there are a few basic tenets which every professional should always keep in the back of their minds.
We have spent the last few years communicating through screens. With the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, ‘old school’ business practices of face-to-face and personal client contact should again be embraced.
One of the best ways to establish and maintain trust and mutual respect through clients, and to build strong relationships, is through personal contact. In my view, nothing beats picking up the phone and talking to clients – unless it’s a face-to-face meeting.
While communicating via email or through Teams is useful and often necessary, they shouldn’t be treated as the only communication tools available. Virtual communications don’t allow for any connection or collaboration, which is integral to advising clients.
Even if the client doesn’t necessarily require regular personal contact, it is worthwhile to find a way to “chat” from time-to-time. Checking in when a client has reached or celebrated a personal milestone or after the completion of work, is always a good idea.
Additional methods of communication such as newsletters, alerts and event/webinar invitations add value as well as facilitate client relationship-building. However, don’t assume a blanket approach will work for all clients. It is important to ask each client what else they may benefit from and tailor your approach accordingly.
Lastly, never forget to say “thank you”. These two words are incredibly powerful. Whether it is acknowledging the receipt of information or a referral for a new prospective client, a simple thank you shows appreciation and recognition for the effort.
In summary, my top three tips for building strong client relationships are:
- Don’t rely on the convenience of email or text message
- Ask questions, seek feedback and consider ways to add value
- Say “thank you” as expressing your appreciation can go a long way
It is my view, that professionals who pay attention to these tenets will find they have a better understanding of what clients are looking for and from the service provided. These efforts will help build longer-lasting relationships with clients.
Litsa Christodulou is a partner in the Business Advisory division at HLB Mann Judd Perth. She was named “Best Accountant” at the 2021, 2020 and 2018 Client Choice Awards. In 2020, Litsa also took home the award for overall “Best Professional”. The Client Choice Awards recognise best practice in the professional services industry. They are based on client votes for professional services firms in Australia and New Zealand, which rate firms’ brands and performance in delivering services on a range of criteria. Clients’ ratings meticulously and independently researched by beaton, the leading Voice of Your Clients specialists.