If you are like most firm owners, you’ve spent time thinking about your brand and ensuring all the building blocks are in place. You’ve got a great logo, an engaging website, wonderful well-trained staff, and your social handles are sending out informative posts on a regular basis. That should be enough, right? Well, not quite. All those brand elements are important, but the place your brand can go off-track is in your written communication with clients and prospects. This article is designed to get you thinking about ways you can improve and standardize your communications with your clients and prospects - so that your brand shines across every touchpoint.
Understand Your Audience
The first thing to be absolutely clear on is your audience and their needs. If you are working with busy construction clients who just need the facts in simple, clear language, using a lot of accounting jargon likely won’t cut it. Conversely, if your clients are sophisticated business professionals who respond to more technical explanations and advice, then you can kick it up a few notches for sure. The key here is to spend time really understanding your clients and prospects and then tailor your communications to meet them where they are.
Strike the Right Note
The second thing you should think about is the TONE you want to strike with your prospects and clients. There is no right or wrong answer here, but the key is to choose a tone that works for your brand and then stick with it. As example - a CPA firm who serves high net worth clients may want to choose a purely professional tone. A smaller boutique firm who emphasizes the relationship may want to choose a friendlier, more casual tone. If you don’t know where to start, gather samples of your current communications and then analyze them. A pattern will emerge and you’ll be able to evaluate if your tone needs adjusting or not.
Create the Desired Emotion
The next element is emotion. Emotion is always present in a communication, whether it be a request for a document or an explanation of a financial report. When you write something, think about what your audience will feel when they read it. As example - A CPA firm with sophisticated clients may want their clients to feel they have chosen a competent trustworthy firm who really knows what they are talking about. A boutique firm’s clientele will also want to feel that but may have the additional need to feel that their accountant “is in the trenches with them” or “has their back”. The emotion you want your clients to feel once they have read your missives will help dictate the tone and content of the communication.
Once you’ve gone through the steps above and you understand your audience’s needs, you’ve chosen a tone and the emotion you want to evoke, the next thing to do is standardize. If staff are typing out their own versions of your messaging and requests using their own language and tone, then your brand can suffer. Using Templates is the way to go. Create a library of templates for staff to draw upon, and enforce their usage, so that your brand shines in every communication.
Technology Can Help
Email is becoming increasingly difficult for clients and staff to manage because it is insecure, it tends to create data silos, and it isn’t a great task list. Important things can also get overlooked and then your brand really takes a hit. To solve this, look for technology that streamlines communications with clients and makes it easier for clients to respond on the go, using just their mobile device. Use templates to increase consistency and let technology do the rest. Ideally all client-facing communications and documents will be standardized and centralized in one easy-to-use place for clients that also ensures staff have full visibility and access.
Paying a bit of attention to how your client communications are written and how they are sent to clients will go a long way to ensuring your firm stands out from others and your brand really shines across all touchpoints. Done right, you’ll create a great experience for your clients, and your staff!
If you would like to see how your firm stacks up in terms of the current experience you are offering your clients, take this short quiz.