Guest post by Ran Oelgiesser, CMO of vCita
Today most business owners spend time thinking about how to manage their clients. How they can initiate more interactions to get more business, and how they can reach out – whether that is calling potential and existing clients, emailing them, advertising to them, etc.
CRM technology is focused on facilitating those processes for businesses. But technology is not enough – especially for service-based businesses where interacting and serving the client is key to satisfying customers who may later return or recommend your business to someone else.
With the world moving online and growing increasingly more mobile, clients expect to be able to engage with businesses when and where they choose. They don’t want to be “managed.” In fact, Gartner Research predicts by 2020, customers will manage 85 percent of their relationships directly with companies without human interaction – making efficient web-based communications a necessity.
Every business should review its client life cycle and reflect on how it can better engage clients at every stage of the sales process, and evaluate how to drive engagement online. Through this, businesses can allow customers to reach them through automated processes driven by technologies that affordably integrate directly into traditional or mobile websites, email campaigns, and social networks.
The following is a typical customer management cycle and five tips that businesses can utilize to optimize client engagement and improve customer relationships with online technology:
Tip #1: Offer a Place for Online EngagementNo matter how visitors hear about your business, they will usually end up visiting your website. Your website plays an important role in the decision of whether or not a visitor engages; therefore, having a professional, organized, and easy to navigate website is an obvious first step.
Tip#2: Find New Ways to Stay ConnectedOnce a customer has decided to work with you, make sure they can easily connect with you. For many businesses, the most common action is through scheduling: scheduling a phone call, a meeting, or an appointment. However, you can’t rely on clients to call or email you only during regular hours which is why having a streamlined strategy to stay connected and engaged is critical as it ensures your business is always available for your clientele.
competitor website that is offering a better experience, or they send emails to multiple businesses, working with whichever company is first to respond.
To avoid losing business, you should design your own integrated communications strategy, where both you and your customers always win. When thinking of ways to accomplish this task, look at integrating online engagement capabilities like web-based scheduling, online payments and invoicing, and online document sharing. When used correctly, these systems can complement customer requests and interactions, and allow a business to automate customer management processes. Clients then can reach out to you on their own time, and interact with your business when it’s convenient for them, while also enabling you to track and manage their requests appropriately.
Tip #3: Deliver an Exceptional Experience — On Every ChannelFinally, you have a client, and the client’s information is in the CRM. Now it’s all about the service your business gives the client — and service should extend beyond what is actually provided to customers. It’s the entire experience, from first contact through service delivery and payment processing – and a CRM is simply not capable of providing exceptional service and engagement on its own.
These important experiences require you to be available in a way that’s most convenient for the customer. By emphasizing a holistic engagement strategy that allows clients to reach you via phone or email, through the traditional and mobile web, and through social media platforms, you can ensure timely interaction and customer engagement is being delivered through the method that’s most preferred for each customer.
Tip #4: Nurture the Client Relationship Through Integrated Email EffortsNext what’s important is that your clients keep coming back. Email marketing is a great example of a tool that has continued to be one the best for nurturing and extending client relationships, and
ensuring clients return as frequently as possible.
Whether it’s to express holiday cheer or to introduce a new service, an essential element of an email is to always include in the message an easy way for a client to reach your business or place an order/book an appointment. You do not want to force clients to have to visit your website, or remember to follow up to call you the next day. Through this additional personalization, email messages integrated with technologies that enable individual follow-ups when it’s time for a client to return, along with easy calls to action, can help customers stay engaged.
Tip #5: Encourage Client Reengagement on Your WebsiteIf several months have transpired since your last interaction with a client, you can expect that the client is likely to revisit your website, even if it’s just to find your phone number. A web visit is a great opportunity to show how your business has evolved so consider promoting special offers, new services, and anything new on your site. More than that, using good web engagement tools will allow you to greet and recognize returning clients, presenting unique, personalized invitations to engage just for them.
All of these seemingly “little” strategies and tech tips can improve your business’s online engagement efforts and increase client satisfaction. A happy client will return, and is more likely to recommend you to friends and colleagues. By focusing on these five tips, you can expand your client management into client engagement which will result in improving retention and converting more prospects.