Managing clients is a full-time job as everything from communication to the management of a project can be subject to scrutiny when a contract is coming to an end. Doing this efficiently should not take away from the effectiveness in any area as you want the client to have the best experience possible. A proactive approach to client management is important as a reactive approach tends to leave something to be desired. Clients seeing the effort that a company puts into their account or contract is important as it can help demonstrate the value that working with the company adds. The following are areas that can be managed and how to manage these areas in an efficient manner.
Ongoing projects like those in digital marketing might need to change depending on the results garnered during the last campaign. A content marketing campaign should have milestones to check in with the client and projected dates to reach these milestones. This helps keep a project on track and makes sure deadlines can be adjusted if need be. The last thing a company wants to do is to complete a project where a client is not happy with the end result. This can turn into an ugly situation with a client refusing to pay as the project did not turn out the way that they had expected. Project managers need to be extremely detail oriented and take notes when discussing the project with a client. Those working on the project being involved in the call can be useful as well when it comes to things like web design or web development.
Billing clients for hourly work like that of legal representation needs to be done accurately with attorney time tracking to make sure all work is paid for. There are going to be clients in all sectors that require your staff to use some sort of time tracking software while working on their project. This helps cut down on the instances where a company bills a client for `10 hours when they only did 8 hours of work. Time tracking can also help in training staff as a company can see where their most productive and best performers are spending their time. Workflow for certain employees could be optimized as they are capable but just not dividing their time appropriately.
Getting a client to sign a new contract or a contract extension is going to be a team effort. Obviously you are going to want your legal team to dictate the exact wording of the contract if you do not already have a contract template for your services. Sending over a few options for contracts for services or products to be ordered allows the client to feel like they have various choices. Most people do not want to feel pressured into signing another contract so empower them instead of making them feel uncomfortable. For longer contracts it can be wise to reduce pricing to intrigue the client enough to enter a multiple month or year contract.
A CRM needs to be used for long term business relationships as multiple account managers could work with one company over the course of years. The CRM can include all kinds of details about the client including which points of contact are the easiest to work with. The last thing that a company wants to do is make a client feel less than valued by not remembering key details of the last conversation. Recaps of phone calls or meetings need to be sent on the same day if possible as a client manager should be taking notes. This will reduce the likelihood of a misunderstanding due to poor wording during a meeting or call. A weekly call can be great for an ongoing project as the scope of the project might change at some point.
Relationship With Client
Building a personal rapport with a client can make it much more difficult for them to end the business relationship. A person that you have dealt with for years and have become friendly with will most likely want to continue working together as they know your quality of work. Finding new vendors or contractors for projects can be a nightmare along with no guarantee that the quality of work will live up to your company’s. Things like remembering birthdays to sending gifts from the company during the holidays could not be more important. This is an investment in client retention as in most sectors of business retaining clients is as important if not more than acquiring new clients.
Client management takes hard work and taking the initiative when it comes to managing a relationship with a valued client. Invest time in current clients to increase client retention and take your business to the next level!