Importance Of Customer Service Training To Finance and Accounting Team

Customer service leads to customer interest which then leads to customer orders.  While best business practices covers a large number of subject areas, the most important objective of any business is to stay in business.  You could be the most efficient company in the world, but fail due to lack of new or sustaining business.

If you want to pursue best business practices, part of that quest must deal with revenue improvement in general, increasing the quality of that revenue and decreasing the cost of producing your goods and services.  The ultimate objective is to sell more products and services to existing customers and attract new customers who will purchase existing products and services. 

Some of the best business process outsourcing firms such as  recognizes that good soft skills or knowledge on call center outsourcing can spell the difference between losing and keeping customers. It’s also an excellent way to foster smoother inter-departmental interactions among colleagues.

How customer service training can further assist the finance team?

We’ve enumerated five reasons on how customer service training can further assist the finance team.

1. Developed ability to explain and simplify complex data

These professionals spent years  and spent countless hours with peers speaking the same jargon, but the accounting team will often be required to explain financial terms to non-experts.

2. Fosters positive brand image

For situations that would call for interacting with clients and explaining reports in layman’s terms, customer service training becomes advantageous. This will help them pick up the best manner to communicate with clients, handle complaints appropriately, and resolve issues to establish a good relationship with them.

3. Improved active listening skills

Understanding client needs is crucial in achieving business success. The ability to truly listen to your customers who have called customer support and determining what your customers want as well as to respond in a satisfactory manner will earn their loyalty, repeated business, and encourage glowing recommendations—all of these are vital for business growth.

4. Encourages rapport-building

Building rapport fosters trust and confidence with people you interact with. If both customers and work colleagues have good relationships with accountants, it will bring about an established positive reputation and a perception that the team is easy to work with.

5. Higher tolerance for demanding customers

The finance and accounting team have their fair shares when handling difficult and demanding customers. Explaining complex computations and breaking down the numbers in layman’s terms is inevitable and would require a lot of patience, which is valued when instilling good customer service practices.

Not to mention the internal customers as well since co-workers can be difficult to handle too, at times. It’s good to have the ability to diffuse these situations for the benefit of the entire organization, in terms of having shorter turnaround times and smoother relationships among employees.

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7 Customer Service Tips For Accountants

While the process of revenue improvement initiatives doesn’t have to be totally customer service focused, the majority of it had better be.  Without customers there would be no business. Here are some customer service tips based on real complaints from clients I have taken over from other accountants:

1. Work around the client’s schedule, not yours.

2. Take an interest in your client’s overall business health.

3. Communicate regularly with each client and visit them at their place of business.

4. Be up-front with your fees.

5. Answer quick questions for free.

6. Pay the penalties if it’s your mistake

7. Don’t use generic questionnaires or ask for information twice.

I just love that quote from my friend Winston Marsh, the well-known Aussie business guru who says “The Native Americans had a beautiful definition of empathy. They said that you cannot know a person until you have spent at least three moons in their moccasins”. So as Winston says, stop thinking like an accountant and walk in the moccasins of your clients. Only then can you !

In the end, business success depends entirely on customer satisfaction.  I’m not just talking about customer service as it relates to a one-on-one connection with each customer or how you treat your customer on the phone, but issues such as quality, price, product availability, product offerings, shipping and anything else that directly impacts your customers.  All of these factors contribute to customer satisfaction.  Even revenue improvement and cost reductions are related to customer satisfaction.

You can’t increase your revenue unless customers are happy with what you have to offer.  You can’t reduce your operating costs unless you make sure these cost reductions don’t have a negative impact on your ability to serve your customers.  Everything that goes on in your company has a link to customer service and customer satisfaction, and that’s the first lesson in best business practices you have to learn.  Operate as if you know this and you will do well.

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