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You’d be hard-pressed to grow your startup without proper client management procedures.
You’ll miss deadlines. Have difficulty communicating with your clients. And you run the risk of causing needless fire-fighting which adds up to your work hours while snuffing out your team’s productivity.
That is why improving your startup’s client management process is important.
Not only will it give your clients a better experience working with you — which encourages them to send you more projects/orders, but it also helps your team operate like clockwork.
What is client management?
From a 30,000-foot view, client management is about how you handle your relationship with your clients. It includes client communication, client retention processes, and managing customer experience, etc.
Client management tips for startups
Now that you have an idea of how client management works, let’s dive into the actual strategies you can use to improve how you manage and collaborate with your clients.
1. Use client portals.
In simple terms, client portals are platforms, typically a web page, where clients can log in and view their personal information, such as the status of their orders, messages/updates from the company, send requests, etc.
Think of client portals as your client’s hotel room, and you, the company, are the actual hotel they checked into. From their hotel room, the client can ask for more services, such as more towels and order food.
Can you imagine how terrible your “hotel” reviews would be if you couldn’t manage your clients’ orders properly? What’s more, can you imagine how poor your client’s experience would be if they asked for a client portal hotel room, and you didn’t have any?
That’s why you need to set up a client portal. It’s crucial for your customer success project management and drastically improves client collaboration.
vcita has a reliable and robust client portal software that startups can use. Here’s how their portal looks.
As you can see, your clients can schedule a call with you, make a payment, send files, etc.
It allows them to collaborate with you within a single platform, as opposed to them going to multiple software programs or channels.
vcita lets company owners add the specific features they need instead of giving all of their users a generic set of tools.
With the help of a reliable and robust client portal software, your clients can do a couple of crucial things:
- Set appointments with you
- Pay your invoices
- Shares files with you
- Send out direct messages
It’s also worth pointing out that you’ll look more professional and established compared to your competitors who don’t have client portals.
2. Use automation.
Stay on top of your important client interactions by integrating automation into your client management process.
Because the tasks are automated, you know they’re executed on time, every single time, since it’s performed by a program.
For example, you can automate the task of billing your clients at the end of every month by setting up your client management platform to automatically send invoices.
By doing this, you spend 0 minutes creating your invoices and sending them, as opposed to spending countless minutes putting together an invoice.
A couple of other things that you can automate are:
- Creating and sending reports
- Onboarding process
- Qualifying your prospects
Another use of automation is for sending follow-up messages when you approach new clients through email.
Automate your follow-up emails to streamline how you manage your warm, cold, and hot prospects.
This way, you won’t need to manually comb through email replies to send the appropriate responses, helping you acquire new clients effectively.
To improve the results of your emails, come up with punchy email subject lines that grab your recipients’ attention.
Use tools such as Send Check It.
Enter your email subject line, and the tool will analyze and score it based on specific factors such as scannability, length, sentiment, preview text readability, and more.
The tool also recommends tips to improve your subject lines and help you avoid spam triggers.
This increases your email’s likelihood of being received and opened by your recipients.
3. Do weekly updates and reports.
Keep your clients up to date by proactively sending reports regularly.
Doing so helps you avoid the constant back and forth emails that come with your clients asking for regular status reports.
Send weekly update emails summarizing your accomplishments and activities, so your team and clients know if you’re on schedule or if there are issues that need to be addressed.
Ensure your weekly reports align with your project’s progress and have the necessary information to keep your clients in the loop.
Consider these tips when creating your weekly updates and reports.
- Use a project management platform. Use an easy-to-use project management tool that makes it effortless for your clients to view the status of your tasks. For instance, color-coding systems can indicate whether your project is on track, at risk, or delayed at the end of every week.
- Write a summary. Depending on the tasks you’re doing for your clients, sending a short summary should be enough to highlight the most crucial parts of your report. For example: “Our survey results have been collated and reviewed. The marketing and design team are working together to uncover new engagement strategies.”
- Allow your teams access to crucial tools. When putting together your weekly updates, your team sometimes needs to access figures or information from certain platforms.
Instead of sharing your usernames and passwords, create an account using Lastpass so you can share access to your tools without showing your login credentials.
With your team having access to all the information they need, you no longer have to log into various platforms to obtain and handoff information needed for your reports — they can do that for you without you sharing your login credentials.
Refine your startup’s client management process to increase your efficiency in handling your client acquisition, retention, collaboration, etc.
With an optimized client management process, it becomes easier for your startup to grow your relationships with your clients, establish rapport, and service them better — which ultimately leads to customer loyalty and more sales.