The results from Verbatim’s recently commissioned and published research uncovers staggering statistics about how accountants are approaching digital customer service. One in three accountancy companies in the UK is virtually invisible in search engine results and over 75% are failing to use social media to promote their business.
Accountancy firms can no longer just rely on a high-street office and a good reputation to successfully grow their business. Prospective customers, whether they be individuals or large companies, now expect to be able to conduct their business seamlessly in both the digital and physical world. The IMF expects 65% of the world’s GDP to be ‘digitised’ by the end of 2022.
Although this research highlights a stark picture for the industry, it also uncovered some excellent examples of best practice in terms of what is possible. We’ve identified a number of accountancy firms that have a strong digital presence and good customer service and analysed what makes them stand out from the rest of the market.
Why does ‘best practice’ matter when it comes to digital marketing?
To keep customers up-to-date with the latest industry insights and to share knowledge with customers looking for financial advice in the best way possible, accountants must keep up with digital best practices. Accountancy firms must work out their own winning formulas to achieve outstanding digital customer service.
Each company must create a seamless digital customer service journey for their clients, from first awareness of their brands, through to the acquisition of their services. Firms can achieve this by creating a consistent level of engagement across social media platforms, multiple customer-service options (such as web chats) and being discoverable on the search engines. These are all key factors for accountancy companies to be able to maximise the quality of each customer encounter.
It’s also important for firms to offer a diverse digital customer service experience and to grow a strong online presence to best service their customer base.
Key areas of Best Practice
To identify the key areas of focus, we looked at how easy it is first, to find a firm online and to understand what is on offer. We then looked at how we were able to communicate with these accountancy firms and identified what they were doing differently to stand out in the digital market.
Our overall research has uncovered these key areas of success:
- Findable: Google recognises a firm’s website as an authority on accountancy when it ranks highly in the search results and is linked to many other relevant websites. These firms have a strong digital presence, which means it is easy for customers to contact the company, keep up with their news and services and get good customer service.
- Available: Once on the website, customers are directed to get in touch with the majority of these companies via a web chat function, a ‘get an instant quote’ button or the company telephone number. Having a web chat function, for example, allows real-time conversations to answer the customer’s queries.
- Informative: A well-structured website with well written quality content is very important. This should include blogs, an FAQs page, detailed services pages and guided videos to help customers to find out as much information as they can for themselves. Call-to-action buttons, for example, can save customers time if they know exactly what they are looking for. Links to reviews and partners also provide valuable information about previous customer experiences, proving that the company is trustworthy.
- Friendly: Companies that regularly post content to their multiple social media accounts come across as friendly, helpful, and approachable. They may share useful reviews, news and financial advice in their feed. Features written by employees give a personality to the brand and show the people behind the face of the company, which can be amplified even more by having photos of the team.
- Fast: Page speed scores can heavily impact a user’s experience. If Google calculates that a company has good browser and mobile website speeds, it means that these businesses are more likely to rank higher on Google and can be found by their customers.
Read our full findings in our report here, which includes a case study into five accountancy firms that are successfully using digital customer service to grow their businesses.