Using technology to enhance the client experience
Most of today’s successful businesses use technology to help them accomplish more in less time. And, in terms of technology, the past three decades have been particularly transformative in many ways. One particular value is the impact of improving client relationships and enhancing the way they experience that relationship. As competition heats up, strengthening your clients’ experiences becomes increasingly important, especially since it costs less to maintain existing client relationships than to seek out new ones.
It is also important because consumers in general expect access to simple and powerful technology from nearly every service provider. Whether it’s the ability to transfer money between bank accounts, request a prescription refill, schedule an appointment, or plan a vacation, your clients expect to have everything they need at their fingertips — and that includes their business relationship with you and your team.
Some professionals are wary that technology will put them out of a job by allowing clients to perform tasks that have long been part of their universe. Actually, providing access to the right technology can enhance your efficiency and give you more time to focus on what you do best — deepening client relationships, acquiring new clients, and developing new services. Using technology effectively will tell you that it’s not about making yourself redundant, but rather about streamlining or eliminating routine tasks so that you can focus more of your time sharing your expertise with more clients.
One obvious choice for technology are the gateways that allow clients to securely share information with your business and access the data you have. Systems like that can head off many of the calls to track down information or to check on how a previous matter was handled. Another form of technology that may be beneficial are scheduling programs that clients can access to request meeting times with you.
An example of technology that can dramatically enhance your client relationships is a customer relationship management (CRM) system that improves your ability to track and manage client activities. While you may think of CRM packages such as Salesmate and Pipedrive™ primarily as a way to store customer information, they offer much more. They can help you keep track of activities, workflows, and tasks that need to be performed. They also prevent those potentially embarrassing and relationship-damaging situations in which only one person knows what’s going on with a client, or when someone fails to share information with someone else who needs to be in the know.
What kind of client-related technology should you invest in? That depends entirely upon your business and your strategic objectives. The first step is to start by thinking of technology strategically. Look at all you currently use — both hardware and software. Think about how you use that technology and what you can’t do but would like to be able to do. Then evaluate the possibilities carefully. That way, you’ll be more likely to select the systems that are best suited for your needs, and that are most likely to have a significantly positive effect upon your business.