Think of a communication plan like a map you prepare that will route and show the delivery for many messages. Good communication plans keep customers in the loop. There are many annually recurring events where communication to customers can be mapped out or planned; there may also be uncommon or non-planned events such as new tax laws going into effect or changes to payroll tax withholdings
For your customers, you are likely their primary source for communication about tax, payroll, bookkeeping, accounting, or financial matters. Furthermore, when it comes to tax law, payroll withholdings, tax shelter advice, or other matters of financial concern, your customers likely expect you to be the one to have the answer or know where to direct them. Your practice management workload should include having a communication plan in place to ensure your customers are getting this information from you first, versus from another accounting, tax or payroll service provider. Having and following a communication plan keeps you connected to your customers on consistent basis throughout the year.
Creating a communication plan for customers begins with these four steps:
- Understand how your customers prefer to receive communication. Once you understand your customer preferences ask yourself if you are equipped to deliver messages in the ways your customers prefer.
- Map out a timeline of known recurring events.
- Identify what you will communicate and how you will get the message out for each event.
- Schedule time on your calendar or assign a staff member to develop the contents of communication for each event.
Even the best communication plan may need to be adjusted to accommodate non-routine events. Take into consideration that when events happen where communication with customers is necessary, your customers will expect to hear this news from you. Your plan for communication should include how you will handle these situations when they arise. When unforeseen events or new tax laws are passed, your customers will want to know how the new law impacts them. Communication at this time becomes critical for reinforcing your relationship as their trusted advisor.