In today’s world, accounting firms and other businesses face an uphill challenge in keeping their customers loyal. With the Google effect meaning that competitors are only a click away, instilling loyalty among existing clients is the new imperative. It also makes economic sense, as it costs up to 7 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one. So how can you effectively use Apps to boost client loyalty?
“It’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away’’
The role that Apps can play in boosting client loyalty in today’s increasingly mobile world cannot be underestimated. Globally, time spent in Apps has nearly doubled over the past two years and, on average, consumers spend 2 hours per day in Apps. According to App Annie, the market data and analytic company, in 2021 users will spend more than 3 trillion hours in Apps globally, and rapid, sustained growth is expected across the App economy.
Mobile Apps are now the primary channel for many of us, and it’s clear that mobile is presenting accountants with an unparalleled opportunity to engage directly with our clients.
Mobile Apps are:
- Easy to access through an icon on the home screen;
- No URLs are required; and
- They currently provide the best experience on mobile devices.
How Do Apps Affect Customer Loyalty?
Mobile Apps provide a highly targeted channel for open two-way communication that can be a powerful driver of customer loyalty.
For example, with your own branded App it is much easier to send individual messages that are called “push notifications” in this new Appy world that are tailored to your specific client. Evidence already suggests that triggered push notifications in particular deliver remarkably high ROI and, according to Zipstripe research, it takes a recipient an average 6.5 hours to view an e-mail, but only 15 minutes to view these instant messages.
When users see that a business is going the extra mile to speak to them personally, it can make all the difference in terms of their loyalty. Then, armed with data on what works, it is easier to continually optimize to make targeting and messages more and more effective.
Putting your App platform at the center of your client’s business activities also helps to drive customer loyalty and is made easier with useful tools that become part and parcel of their day.
Information from Smartphone cameras can be integrated and processed within a native App and used to record copies of receipts and invoices, which can then be sent directly to the accountant and help provide a compelling user experience for the business owner. Everyone likes to that feeling of achievement and of a job being completed, and the receipt management tool really helps to forge that all-important link between the client and accountant.
The mileage tracker is another highly popular tool made possible by the App ecosystem. It utilizes the GPS functionality found in Smartphones to detect the user’s location, records the business mileage for each trip, and stores the data in a file that can easily be exported to the accountant. Because it only requires one push of a button to start the tracking device, it easily becomes second nature and solves an age-old administrative issue that has perplexed businesses for years.
How to Stay First in the App World and in Your Client Relationships
Your App does not have to be a single offering since there are many useful Apps in the thriving add-on community in this powerful eco system. By incorporating these add-ons in your App, along with Cloud Accounting login portals, you can make sure that your clients will see you as the main link between them, the principal software accounting companies, and the add-on community.
How access is managed is a major consideration in this new Appy world and it is important to keep control and not give away trusted adviser status. It is all to easy to be cut out of the loop. This is happening to some extent in Australia, where the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) and various software companies have launched Apps that are aimed directly at the accountant’s client base. Having the firm’s own branded App protects the accountant’s status as it provides the mechanism to link to the others from within the App. It also helps to alleviate confusion for clients as their home screens become more streamlined and your icon becomes the place to go for all financial and tax tools.
With adults spending the majority of their time on their Smartphones in Apps, accountants have it in their grasp to boost customer loyalty by delivering a tailored App experience that reaches out and makes the client feel valued.
The old adage, “Customer satisfaction is worthless, customer loyalty is priceless,” remains true, even in this new App-driven world.