Your key to success in your business is building lasting relationships with your clients.
So tell me this....what happens when managing clients takes up a lot of your time and energy?
You end up being chained to your laptop, you don't get much time with the family and that business you started to have more time is now draining you of this precious time. The best way to nurture and grow your relationships with each client when you are strapped for time is by practicing both efficient and effective client management.
Essentially it’s the way you manage the working relationship with a client to ensure the highest quality of service and satisfaction. It includes discovering what the client needs from you and measuring how well you deliver on those needs. Using a combination of good communication and modern technology, excellent client management is well within reach.
Here are simple effective client management skills to practice:
Establish preferred communication
When managing your clients expectations, the first thing to remember is communication!
At your initial meeting with a client, be sure to ask what mode of communication works best for them and the best time to make contact. Your client will appreciate it if you show concern for their preferences.
There are the usual ways to communicate, including emails, telephone or texting but another great tool for communication is by using a simple online tool such a Trello. Using something simple like this will allow for all communication to be kept tight and avoid getting lost in email ping pong!
Invest in CRM software
From organising client information to automating follow up with clients, getting the right software is crucial for building your client relationships. CRM tools keep track of what’s happening with each client, when clients need to be contacted, and what’s ahead for a client’s case.
You can see all your clients, which service they are receiving from you and all their information is in one project folder to keep you feeling in control and on top of things.
My preferred option is Dubsado for B2B owners which has fantastic capacity of creating a personal, on brand service without the need to be chained to your desk and things can happen even whilst you sleep! At only £28 per month, this is very affordable if you would like 20% off your first month or whole year then you can use my affiliate code by clicking this link.
Always follow up
When managing clients, it’s important to make following up part of a routine rather than something that's only done when trying to close a client. For whatever reason you are doing follow-up, make sure it's automated. It takes time to create and send new emails every time you need to follow up with a client. If you use a CRM tool, you can automate follow-up so the software will do it for you, but it's still personal! You could potentially schedule all of a client's follow-up in one sitting and not have to revisit again for the week.
Manage client expectations honestly
When managing client expectations, the more your client knows what to expect from the work you’ll be doing on their case, the less they’ll be concerned with contacting you just to check in. The more proactive you are with setting expectations, the less your clients will try to get away with behaviour that pushes the limits of what’s acceptable in your working relationship.
If a client continually disregards your expectations, consider stopping work for a time. For example, if you’ve requested forms from a client, give them a deadline for when those forms must be in and stop work on the case until you receive all needed forms. Managing client expectations requires a working relationship that goes both ways.
Schedule client management tasks weekly
Staying organised and time-efficient is the aim, so set aside time each week where you schedule your client management tasks for the week. During this uninterrupted time, focus on what each client needs from you that week. Do you have follow-ups to conduct, or are there several clients you need to call back? These and other tasks can be planned out for the week, so you stay organized and efficient.
Additionally, after you've implemented client management into your schedule, treat it as a hard deadline. When the time comes to complete the tasks you've scheduled, don't put them off for other work. Nurturing your relationships with clients is just as important as other work you do, and will help with managing client expectations for future interactions.
Use client portals (if you can)
Clients love client portals, and you will, too. Client collaboration is the most significant function of a client portal. By using a client portal, you and your client can securely send each other files, notes, requests, and questions at the click of a button. No more unanswered emails getting lost in your client’s inbox. No more faxing documents. And no more waiting for your client to visit your office and hand important papers to you directly. With their portal, your client can simply send you any necessary documents from anywhere they have internet access.
This leaves you with more time to complete work on their case rather than trying to manage client expectations.
Dubsado has a brilliant client portal option that is totally branded to you. It's a game change for upping the anti to bring those client referrals.
We all need to say no sometimes
Sometimes a client requests a service that is not what's most practical or best for their casework. Rather than spending your time, and your client's money, on work you know isn't going to turn out to be very fruitful, learn to say no to clients.
Of course, in the interest of client retention, you need to say no the right way. Whenever you turn down a client's request, be honest and upfront and offer a different solution and explain why it will be more beneficial to them.
If you can’t offer a solution for them within your business, you may consider referring them to someone you know, better suited to the work.
Work smarter, not harder
It’s all too easy to commit to practicing more efficient and effective client management skills but get overwhelmed when it comes to execution. It makes more sense to work smarter, not harder. Along with setting time aside to schedule your week, also set aside time each day to complete tasks using the best tools at your disposal.
If you want to start using a CRM, like Dubsado, and you know it's something that you know you need but don't have the time to learn how to set up, then why not outsource the set up whilst you get on with more important tasks, whilst it's being built! I help business owners set up Dubsado to take away the pain of learning the ropes and then once it's set up you can reap the benefits of way more time to do with whatever you want!
If you are looking to up level your client management and grow that amazing business then why don't we have a chat about how I can help you. CLICK HERE to book in for a cuppa and a chat.
Check out my next blog in the series called 6 WAYS A CRM CAN REDUCE COSTS IN YOUR BUSINESS