The Best Ways to Keep Track of Clients in the UK
First of all, why do you need to keep track of your clients? Interestingly, many business owners do not bother and carry on as they always have done. However, this can lose business for you.
If you don’t follow changes in the way your clients do business, then you are at a disadvantage. You may carry on marketing as normal without realising the market has changed, and your clients’ needs have also changed. Consequently, they go elsewhere – someplace where the service is better.
‘Sixty-nine per cent of customers said they quit doing business with companies they had dealt with in the past because they had perceived an attitude of indifference,’ says Jan Carlson of Tallyfy.com, which provides customer-tracking software.
On a simpler level, if your databases are disorganised, then you can physically lose track of clients. Commonly, the relevant details go missing when you need to contact them.
Or, you have to spend half an hour searching for a number – across numerous devices – instead of making money and growing your business. Wasted time is one of the biggest business killers.
How do you keep track of clients with invoicing tools?
So, it’s time to say goodbye to your address book and paper filing system and find a program to help you keep track of clients. So, how do you set up an organised, accessible and easy-to-access digital system?
One way is to use your invoicing system as a way to keep all contact details up-to-date and easy to locate.
Invoicing tools are convenient because they group all your clients in one place. You need to keep them updated. Otherwise, you can’t invoice, so that is a good incentive to keep all your client details current.
A good system will save you time and money, making your invoicing process simpler and faster. By using an invoicing system, you can see who owes you what, and keep on top of chasing payments. If you use an app, then this will be accessible across all of your devices, meaning you can invoice on the go, reducing your billing time and leaving you ample time to create new business.
So, what invoicing tools are available?
There are numerous tools, divided into two types: online tools and apps. These get further divided into paid and free. Paid apps vary wildly in price and, depending on the size of your business, you should choose the best system to suit your needs and your wallet!
A good invoicing tool will help you keep track of your clients by monitoring payment, invoicing and expense history. And many offer an awful lot more, allowing you to group clients into marketing segments and follow changes in ordering habits with charts and graphs. These tools can help you spot when a client is doing business elsewhere, so you can act fast and rescue your bottom line.
Accounting software keeps all your client info safely in one place. And because it is automated, it can save you time: automatically chasing for late payments and notifying you when a client is in arrears. And just so you don’t have to, Finances Online evaluated a host of billing software and made a handy list of the ten best. Do your research and decide what you need, from:
- Integration with other apps and online services to increase your customer data and market understanding
- Invoice tracking, payment reporting and notifications
- Report generation, tax reports and business plans
- Currency management
- Customer portal allowing customers to pay through the software
- Stock and inventory management
- And so much more.
How to manage client relationships with CRMs
So, if you need a simple way to monitor and track of clients, an invoicing tool is a great help. However, you will probably find that you want to access much more than just contact details and financial information.
What happens after a meeting? Where do you store your most vital information: personal info, meeting feedback and notes on your conversations? How do you remember which client said what and was planning which expansion?
Customer relationship management (CRM) software can improve the efficacy of your business by:
- Helping you retain customers
- Assisting you to find new customers
- Monitoring customer relationships.
Studies show that it costs far more to find a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. CRM helps you follow trends and spot when you need to pay attention to a client who may be considering another supplier. A keep-track-of-your-client app can help.
It’s all about the details
As with all databases, CRM is only as useful as the info you input. You can store all the expected client data, such as contact details and invoicing info. But the key to getting the most out of your CRM is to track your interactions: monitor relationships and keep track of how your clients are feeling. In this way, you can spot and handle dissatisfied clients quickly, with all your info stored in one place and accessible from anywhere.
Good software lets you add reminders to check in with clients – sometimes just a quick call to touch base can be the difference between a neglected client finding new outlets and a bigger order for your company.
You can use the monitoring software to see when it is time to adjust pricing or give an extra special offer to a discontented client. And that same data can help you check up on your sales team, noting any drops in performance and giving you the chance to give them a nudge in the right direction.
Advantages of CRM software tools
Campaign tracking is a super-useful aspect of CRM. It helps you to identify sales opportunities and take advantage of cross-selling prospects. Charts and graphs are a great way to manage existing clients and can also help you find new leads.
CRM tools are enhanced when the possibility of connectivity to your other systems exist. If you can find one that can link to your accounting software, your scheduling app or that uses the cloud to generate data, then go for it!
Luckily for you, Capterra has listed and rated CRM tools and software, so you can read through the list and find the one that best suits your business size, needs and budget. Analysts and users rate all systems listed. You can use the handy search bar to filter the results, so they reflect your exact requirements.
How to schedule client engagements in online calendars
You have probably discovered that it is pretty hard to keep track of your clients if your diary looks like a war zone! Meetings crossed out, unnecessary meetings scheduled when a phone call will do and a daily drive that takes you all over the city, wasting your valuable work time by keeping you in the car.
It is great to be busy, but you can benefit from software that helps you manage your schedule and be in control of where you are and what you are doing.
First, you have to find an appointment scheduling app that suits your business. We found a list on Zapier.com that evaluates all the benefits and prices so that you can make an informed choice.
But to choose the right software, first, work out your absolute must-haves and desirable features.
Manage your schedule from anywhere using an online calendar
Are you overwhelmed by too many meetings? Find one that helps you manage your time and enables you to prioritise the most important meetings.
Does your schedule change at a moment’s notice? You need software that helps you reschedule without wasting time flicking through your diary.
The key to choosing the right app is making sure it saves you time. It must be intuitive to navigate and simple to input info. Look for one that looks at the whole picture, so you don’t need to flip between apps. You want your client data efficiently managed and easy to understand.
The good folks at Forbes.com asked 15 members of the Forbes Coaching Council for tips on how to schedule clients and manage your diary. These are some of their answers:
- Decide what type of meeting is required and don’t waste time on long meetings when a quick interaction will suffice
- Set up reminders, so you don’t miss anything
- Stay focused on the topic, create an agenda if it helps
- Block out admin and office time, so you don’t fall behind in your other work
- Be clear about the meeting requirements: tell your client what you hope to achieve in the meeting
- Use a diary app to save time with bookings.
Working together as a team
So, you have chosen your invoicing software, your calendar app and a CRM tool to help manage your clients and keep track of your customer information. Make sure they can all work together and that you can access them from all of your devices.
Another key component is to ensure that your colleagues can all access the info they need from the system, so you can work cohesively and operate as a team. Communication is the key to good client management – and the software is just waiting for you.
Say bye-bye to missed opportunities and hello to the new organised you in 2019!
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