We are all human, and make mistakes from time to time. And these mistakes can sometimes impact our clients.
The key to avoiding any such mistakes destroying the relationship with your client is by ensuring that your Emotional Bank Account (EBA) with them is always in the black.
Your EBA is an account that can be filled with trust rather than money. It's what makes a client feel safe with you. And a healthy EBA is the backbone of a successful client relationship.
We ensure that the EBA is in credit by doing the small things really well. These regular acts make constant deposits, building to a healthy balance. If we make a mistake and need to withdraw from the EBA, it still remains in the black.
The kind of things that deposit into the EBA are:
Responding quickly to emails (on the same day or at the very latest the next morning).
Return phone calls on the same day or at the very latest the next morning.
Honor your promises. Never over-promise and under-deliver
Always under-promise and over-deliver. It's better to make no promises than to make a promise and let someone down.
Turn up on time. Never be late.
Be polite and respectful to your clients and enquire about their welfare, families, pets and interests.
Send them flowers or a card on their birthday or anniversary.
Invite them to receive your newsletter.
If you make a mistake on their tax return, apologize, get it fixed quickly, and offer them a discount or compensation for the inconvenience. Even if it's a movie ticket.
Take the top 20% of your clients to lunch.
Ask your top 50% SME clients to come in annually for an AGM and talk to them (for free) about their business, wealth, life insurance, income protection, estate planning, wills, etc.
Turn their work around quickly.
If you do not do the above things consistently, you will not have credits in the bank. If your EBA gets in the red, the next indiscretion—no matter how small—might destroy the relationship and lead to a lost client.
Have you ever been in a situation where you turned up five minutes late to an appointment and the person got really upset? On the surface, it might appear to be an overreaction. However, if you had been late to the previous 10 meetings, your last minor act of tardiness may have been "the straw to break broke the camel’s back".
In other words, every time you were late in the past, you were withdrawing from the EBA. When the EBA is in the red, any small mistake can become a major problem. Not because of the small indiscretion but because of the last 10 small indiscretions.
You must do the small things well to ensure the EBA is in the black, in anticipation of when you will make a mistake in the future.
Whether you have a good or bad relationship with your clients is totally in your hands.
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Founder & Non-Executive Chairman, Chan & Naylor
Ed started Chan & Naylor from a small home office in Sydney and grew it into a National Financial Services Organisation that now works without him, with offices in most capital cities around Australia, servicing more than 10,000 clients.
In 2018 he co-founded WIZE Mentoring, a network for accountants who want to know how to successfully grow their firm and have it run without them.