Image by Mohamed Hassan
Customer relationship management is one of the keys to profitability in business. But as you start serving larger and larger clients, managing them takes up a lot of your time and energy.
Picture this: your business is bustling. Your accountants are scrambling to conduct daily reconciliation. HR can barely keep up with the applications. And it’s tax season.
Amid this chaos, how are you going to give your large clients the stellar service they deserve? For advice on practicing efficient customer management, read on.
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What exactly is customer relationship management (CRM)?
At times, CRM refers to a kind of technology that manages customer relationships, including interactions with current and prospective customers. However, more broadly – and the way it is used in this article – CRM is a combination of strategies, practices and technologies that analyze and manage customer data.
The goal of CRM is to improve customer relationships, help in customer retention, and increase sales. CRM systems gather client data across different points of contact or channels. These can include the company website, direct email, phone calls, social networks, live chats, and so on. The systems can also provide staff with information on clients’ purchase history, concerns, buying preferences, and limited personal information.
Client relationship management helps you understand what your client wants from you and how well you are delivering. Making sure that your biggest clients are happy with your work is crucial for them to keep using your products or services.
The Best Advice for Client Relationship Management
1. Choose the Right Communication Tools
One of the first things you need to establish is which tools you will be using for communication.
For instance, your client might want to have a weekly status update. How do they prefer to do this? In person? Video chat? Phone? Email?
Does your client expect to receive an update along with that meeting, such as a status report or a PowerPoint presentation?
If it is possible, it is always useful to meet your client in person.
Communicate with your client so you know the best way – and time – to reach them. Similarly, you need to provide them with guidelines as well, such as your available hours, aside from emergency requests.
Ideally, you should not promise 24/7 access – this is a recipe for becoming overwhelmed and not delivering work. However, you can set SLAs and expectations.
Ensure that there is a point of contact and that your client has their contact details. They should know who to approach if they need something.
2. Consider a Three-Point Team
Consider having three points of contact for all major accounts.
Two client service team members and one account manager. The former can manage daily communication.
All people on the team can have a weekly meeting to review the project status and keep all stakeholders in the loop.
3. Create a Roadmap of Requirements
The sales process for large clients can leave room for anxiety for all parties involved. You can avoid this by creating a roadmap of requirements.
Determine what will happen at the different stages of the process, the people needed for each stage, and the number of demos that will be required.
4. Invest in Robust Reconciliation Software
When you’re handling big clients or going through M&As, you’re dealing with huge amounts of data that can be incredibly difficult and cumbersome to reconcile.
Failure to reconcile daily can lead to fraud, bankruptcy, and theft, among other things. Needless to say, in addition to your business taking a battering, current and prospective clients will be less willing to use your goods or services.
5. Prioritize Consistency and Quality
If you want repeat customers, you need to not only provide high-quality services and products, but form a strong business relationship.
Consistent communication should be maintained throughout any project.
Ensure that, every time you contact your customer, you should be clear as to the questions you are asking and the updates you are giving.
Furthermore, always check your written communication for proper spelling and grammar.
Remember to promptly follow up any time your customer reaches out to you.
6. Understand The Project Scope
Don’t limit your resources based on company size. Instead, base it on the complexity of the project.
Ensure that you understand the project scope so you can maximize your efforts.
This way, you can make sure your client gets what they want, which may include sales, products, marketing, customer experience, and other things that might involve other departments.
Managing your relationship with customers is both challenging and highly rewarding. With the pointers above, you will have a solid bedrock on which to build successful client relationships.
Of course, managing client relations can take up a lot of time and resources no matter the technology you are using. To help ease the load, we recommend daily reconciliation. NextGen Accounting offers bank reconciliation services, credit card reconciliation services, and consulting services.
To give you the most accurate and fastest reconciliation, we use our patented software CrushErrors, which we specifically created for huge amounts of data that other reconciliation software cannot easily manage. You can also obtain CrushErrors as a product if you’d rather conduct reconciliations in-house.
NextGen Accounting’s management team has decades of experience and includes former executives of Barclays Bank, Bank of America, and ICBC. Contact us today for reconciliation services or book a free demo if you’d like to get CrushErrors!