6 Strategies for Improved Client Management

The traditional supplier/consumer relationship just isn’t as effective as it used to be. No longer are buyers content to be told what to buy and when. Today’s customers are empowered. They’re informed. They’re proactive. And more than anything else, they expect to be treated like something more than just faceless data points on a quarterly earnings report.

According to the Salesforce 2018 “State of the Connected Customer” report, 84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. That means that companies that want to remain competitive in today’s customer-centric market need to get involved with their audiences on a personal, individual level.

The Salesforce “State of Service” report affirms that 70% of service teams say their strategic vision has become more focused on creating deeper customer relationships over the last 12–18 months, and 85% of executives with service oversight acknowledge customer experience is a key competitive differentiator.

Of course, recognizing the importance of improved customer relationships is one thing; developing and implementing a customer-focused strategy that is both effective and cost-effective is something else entirely. For that, you need a reliable customer management system built around top-quality client management software.

What is client management?

Client management is something of a catch-all term used to describe any tool, strategy, or practice designed with the intent to better handle client information. Additionally, client management is often used interchangeably with the term customer relationship management (CRM).

A client management system is a set of technologies designed around overseeing all of your company’s interactions with potential and existing customer — the end goal of which is to improve the business relationship.

Incorporating a number of advanced tools, a good client system can help you optimize processes, increase profitability, and connect directly with customers in a way that feels natural and personal. Often, these systems are designed to combine the functionalities of a contact management system and a project management system, bringing together sales, marketing, and customer service teams with a single, real-time view of all the relevant information. The best client management software is entirely cloud-based, meaning that authorized users can access customer data at any time, from anywhere, over essentially any internet-enabled device.

From finding new customers to coordinating in-house manager efforts, client management improves productivity and provides support (for both the client and the user) throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

That said, even the best client management system falls flat when it’s not correctly supported. To get the most out of client management, you need effective client management strategies.

 

Client management strategies can make all the difference.

In fact, 18% of companies that experience problems with CRM initiatives report issues that directly relate to strategy. Beyond simply understanding a system’s capabilities and functionality, knowing how to best apply client management advantages toward improving relationships is essential. Here are six client management strategies to consider when using a CRM tool to build customer relationships:

  1. Work with clients to set goals.

    Most businesses understand the importance of setting and measuring goals. Unfortunately, they often find themselves focusing solely on their own aims and intended destinations — improved efficiency, increased profit, better retention, and more. But while these are all important goals for any business, they fail to take into consideration the active roll of the customer.

    When beginning a business relationship with a client, start things off on the right foot. Meet with them. Discuss their situation, and explore what they want to get out of the partnership. This doesn’t have to be anything overly formal; a quick phone call or even an email can show your clients that you’re interested in helping them achieve their objectives, and that can go a long way toward creating a mutually profitable relationship. With a client management system, you can then easily track these goals and remain updated on their progress.

  2. Be transparent.

    According to 79% of service teams, a single view of the customer empowers agents to provide consistency and continuity in every client interaction. When accurate client data is easily accessible to every authorized representative, a seamless, individualized customer journey is the natural result.

    But you’re not the only one who has a connection to that data. Your customers want access to their information too, as well as easy-to-use support channels and information portals designed to help keep them always in the loop. When you’re transparent with your customers about their data, they’ll be more willing to trust you with their current (and future) business.

  3. Build your credibility.

    Speaking of trust, just because a client is willing to take the chance to do business with you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they fully trust you. Many clients see their first interactions with a company as a trial run, and given that 76% of customers say it’s now easier than ever before to take their business elsewhere, if you don’t deliver well on the first try, they’re going to move on.

    The good news is that for every positive experience, you’ll build credibility in the eyes of your client. Focus on the long term. Provide great value and personalized service now, but also demonstrate how beneficial the relationship will be to the client down the road. Most importantly, make sure to always keep your word (even when it comes to things that might be considered less important), as even a single broken promise can irreparably damage the client relationship. The old adage to “underpromise and overdeliver” definitely applies.

  4. Don’t exclude your team.

    One of the greatest benefits of a reliable client management or CRM system is the way it empowers users across multiple departments to coordinate their efforts. By having detailed access to the same real-time client data, team members can operate as a single entity, providing clients with a reliable companion for their 1-to-1 customer journey. However, if you don’t involve your team in the strategic process, they won’t be as ready to fill that roll.

    Team members who are a part of the entire process (rather than just brought in at the last minute to guide clients toward a sale) are more likely to take personal ownership over the strategy. They’ll work harder to reach objectives, and also act as a more dedicated and reliable resource for the customers themselves.

  5. Keep checking up.

    Having all of your client data available at a glance means never being left out of the loop. But what about the clients themselves? How do they feel about how the relationship is progressing? Do they have concerns or questions? Often, the only way to find out is to ask them.

    By scheduling regular client checkups, you’ll be giving your customers a specific time dedicated to maintaining and improving the relationship. They won’t have to wonder how best to bring up concerns, and they won’t feel put on the spot by unexpected “How are we doing?” emails or surveys. With regularly scheduled reviews, they’ll have time to honestly consider how satisfied they are, and prepare to discuss any potential issues. This is absolutely vital for key accounts, but can be just as beneficial when dealing with lower spend clients.

  6. Put automation to use.

    There’s more to client management than just collaborating on data. Thanks to new advances in AI technology, the best CRM and client management software is capable of automating not only simple, repetitive tasks, but also performing intelligent actions. From automating inventory control and sales processing, to creating and sending personalized communications, the limits of automation are continually being expanded.

    But even more than that, predictive intelligence is now capable of evaluating captured data and extrapolating highly accurate conclusions, and even suggesting recommended next steps. Essentially, this amounts to something like having an omnipresent data scientist reviewing every bit of information you have available. And, with new advances in machine learning, these tools even have the power to grow smarter as you use them.

    High-performing businesses are 3.9X more likely than underperformers to say that predictive intelligence will have a transformational impact on their customer service by 2020. By taking advantage of automation options within client management software, you can vastly improve productivity and the customer experience.

Salesforce offers the right client management tools to connect you with your customers.

Salesforce, long recognized as the world’s #1 CRM provider, has the tools and the experience you need to create an effective client management strategy. This completely cloud-based CRM system allows you to keep detailed track of all of your client data, while also managing accounts, seeing overviews of deals, tracking sales data, and more.

Salesforce CRM is also designed mobile-first, meaning that it operates with full functionality across every internet-enabled device. Additionally, the Customer 360 Platform provides tools and direction for building your own specialized client management apps, so you’ll always have the right tool for the right job. And, with the advanced Salesforce Einstein AI built into every Salesforce tool, cutting-edge predictive intelligence and automation will be there informing your strategy.

After all, the traditional supplier/consumer relationship is long gone. Today’s clients want something more personalized. And with Salesforce, you’ll have the tools to make it happen.

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