Jul 23, 2019 | Customer Experience, Klient Services, PSA Growth
Every business wants to grow quickly, but not all are equipped to support fast-paced growth while still operating successfully.
For services businesses, growing quickly is a great sign because it means the service you’re providing your clients is resonating with them, solving their problems, and they’re likely telling others they know that you can solve their problems as well.
However, if your services business doesn’t have the tools needed to handle fast growth, sooner or later the business will suffer because you won’t have the bandwidth to continue providing the same high quality service that made you popular to begin with.
So what are the top performing services organizations doing to tackle challenges, win business, and retain customers? What are they doing to support growth, optimize resource management, automate billing, and improve reporting? Here are a few strategies that services businesses can use to support growth and continue to succeed as they gain more customers:
Be Able To Effectively Manage Multiple Projects At Once
As your business grows, your employees are going to be busy and likely have multiple projects on the go at once. Having a tool that can help them manage these projects more efficiently will be key to their success.
A Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution will allow for better resource management, time & expense management, services CPQ, and team collaboration. All of which will empower your team to manage projects successfully and deliver services that will keep your customers happy.
Integrate And Streamline The Back-Office
When you add new services and billing models, you need a billing system that is agile enough to support them, while keeping billing cycles fast and efficient. Manual, inflexible back-office processes can only cause slow billing cycles, costly mistakes, and frustrated customers.
Ideally, you want a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system where sales creates new opportunities, a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution where your services team tracks and manages their projects, and then a fully integrated back office system that supports everything from the opportunity all the way through to customer renewal and revenue recognition that passes data seamlessly with your CRM and PSA.
Routinely Survey Your Customers and Ask For Feedback
Another way the best professional services organizations support fast-paced growth is by asking for feedback from their customers and using the information they collect from their responses to make smarter business decisions for the future.
With a PSA solution like Klient PSA your project teams can send surveys to their customers right from the platform, and their responses will be stored in the product as well.
By creating and delivering project and customer surveys including NPS, CSAT, or free-form surveys to analyze client feedback and sentiment, businesses can learn from project engagements, and help build long-term customer advocacy to increase retention improve customer satisfaction.
Is Your Service Business Equipped to Support Fast-Paced Growth?
If not, implementing a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution with a wide breadth of features and functionality, as well as the ability to seamlessly integrate with the other applications your business uses, could help you grow with more ease and efficiency.
Schedule a discovery call with our Klient expert to find out.
Jul 2, 2019 | Customer Experience
As the world becomes more customer-centered, the need to foster customer success is more important than ever before. Achieving customer success means that your customers gain their desired value from your product or service, and can use it to meet their long-term goals.
In a professional services capacity, this often means delivering your service to the client in such a way that helps them achieve their goals with as few roadblocks as possible throughout the service delivery period. If you succeed in doing so, you will have happy and loyal customers for life. That means that aligning your business goals with those of your customers spells prosperity for your business for years to come.
However, this process takes dedicated nurturance of the customer relationship. And you will inevitably end up facing customer success challenges along your journey to complete customer-centricity. While problems are bound to arise, customer-centricity gives you the tools you need to effectively handle any issues and ultimately still achieve customer success.
Customer Success Challenges and How To Face Them
We all want to make our customers happy, but customer success challenges can arise for a variety of reasons. You may not have the right processes in place. You may lack the ability to gather data and draw insights that improve the customer experience. There may be a problem with the product itself. Your sales team may have scoped the project incorrectly and now the service you’re delivering isn’t matching your customers expectations. No matter the cause, your customer success team will always be on the front lines of problem-solving and will need best practices to rectify complaints.
Here are some of the most common customer success challenges your team may face and ways to overcome them:
#1. Poor Customer Visibility
From the moment the sale is complete, you need to monitor your customer’s progress with your product or service. You need to know if each customer is properly passing each adoption milestone. It’s important to monitor the details of their product usage, such as usage frequency and which features they do and do not use.
You should also monitor customer health scores and keep an eye on other KPIs, especially in the professional services industry. By taking the time to carefully monitor each customer, your team can watch over all your customer relationships, ensuring that no at-risk customer slips under the radar.
In a professional services capacity, having a professional services automation (PSA) solution like Klient Software can help you improve customer visibility through survey tools, and health check statuses, as well as detailed reporting to see how projects are progressing and aligning to the customers’ expectations. Since Klient PSA is also built native on Salesforce, your sales and services teams can work hand in hand to ensure that expectations are clear and projects are delivered according to scope.
#2. Gaps In Customer Nurturance
It’s imperative to nurture the relationship your brand has with each of your customers. If nurturance is inconsistent in its thoroughness or scope, customers can slip through the cracks, raising churn rates. You need to invest time in every customer and provide quality engagements. This is true whether you sell a product or a service.
Accounts should be tracked and routed to customer success team members or managers for proper engagement. Team members can track changes in customer value over time and evaluate if there are any concerning signs. This enables your team to give the correct amount of nurturance to every customer.
A marketing automation tool, such as HubSpot, Marketo, or Pardot, can also help with customer nurturance. You can set up automated email marketing campaigns specifically designed to foster relationships with your existing customers, improve their awareness of your product or service, and ensure you meet their needs in the future as their business grows and evolves.
#3. Customers Are Not Seeing Value
When customers stop seeing the value of your product or the service you’re offering, they will most likely churn. While winback campaigns can be effective at times, the best solution to this problem is prevention.
Your business needs to deliver value constantly. Build value from the moment a customer makes a sale by identifying the value a customer is looking for and helping them achieve it. As adoption goes on, deliver expanding value in the form of new functionalities or features. And listen to feedback, as a customer’s goals can always evolve.
In professional services specifically, providing value for a customer usually means ensuring that the quality of service you promised them when they signed your proposal, is the quality of service you’re delivering to them. Your customer will also see value if the service you deliver to them is delivered on time, on budget, and according to scope. Most important, is that upon successful completion of the project, your customer can clearly see how this service solved their problem, and will help their business be more successful moving forward.
A PSA solution like Klient Software can help your customers see the value in your service, by empowering you to stay on scope, on time, and on budget, and provide the customer full transparency as you work through their project so they can see any reasons for delays, additional hours billed, etc.
Overcome These Customer Success Challenges & Watch Your Business Grow
Improving your company’s levels of customer success provides an opportunity to see strong, ongoing growth. Happy customers are loyal, and not only are they apt to accept upsell or cross-sell offers, but they may even give your business good word-of-mouth, which is invaluable for your brand’s reputation.
Once you center your company’s goals around those of your customers, you’ll be ready to exceed your customers’ expectations in terms of delivered value. And nothing’s more cost-efficient and beneficial than retaining customers.
Apr 16, 2019 | Client Retention, Professional Services Automation, Salesforce PSA
Service-based clients can differ wildly from purchase-based customers — especially when you want to build lasting relationships with them to create repeat business. That’s why client retention can be so different from customer retention.
Here, we’ve compiled four expert tips for how to retain clients that we believe are specifically helpful to service-based businesses.
1. Highlight the Human Component
While customer-based businesses often focus on selling the value or quality of a product, client-based service businesses can promote themselves as people who provide professional services with top-quality expertise, experience, or connections. The relationships between your organization and its clients helps ensure they’re happy enough to keep using your services.
As Joey Coleman, author of the book Never Lose a Customer Again, likes to say: “The fact is, whether you are B2B or B2C, the core of the conversation is that your business is H2H — human to human.”
Positioning your organization as humans delivering premium services to other humans can quickly change your clients’ perceptions of who it is they’re doing business with in the first place. This can give you an advantage that keeps clients invested in your business relationship beyond numbers and deliverables.
2. Focus on Clients Individually
The second “human” in the human-to-human strategy is your client, but typical customer retention metrics may leave your clients feeling like just another number. A capable professional services automation (PSA) system can help your organization focus on the client’s needs from front end sales to back end office management. Besides using powerful tools to keep clients at the center of your business, Mark Klein of Loyalty Builders Inc. explains client loyalty with a macro vs. micro concept. Rather than focusing on customer retention — a high-level or macro idea that looks at your entire client base as a whole — loyalty is a micro metric that highlights the value of each client individually.
Klein’s company evaluates every customer with a risk score, which focuses on the customer’s likelihood of making a purchase within the next 12 months. Your metrics may be based on your client’s likelihood of using your services again within a certain period of time. These measurements allow Klein’s company to incentivize customers, rewarding customers with higher loyalty, and making offers specific to each customer’s preexisting buying behaviors. Viewing each of your customers as individual assets will allow you to market to each of them in a way that maximizes the relationship — making everyone a winner.
3. Ask Tough Questions About Client Relationships
It can be easy to evaluate client relationships in terms of the rapport between contacts, but Mike Schultz, Co-President of global sales training company RAIN Group, recommends looking at the actual business value your company provides for each client. He suggests organizations ask a series of tough questions about their clients, including whether the client views you as a partner, and what your client would say if a rival service suggested your client replace you.
If you find the answers to these questions show that you’re an essential partner, you’re in a good position to retain clients long term. If the answers aren’t what you had hoped, you now have goals for where you want the client relationship to be. That may include developing the relationship to the point that they would never consider replacing you with another service company.
4. Keep Your ‘Why’ Close
An intuitive way to further develop the connection between your organization and its clients is to keep your company’s “why” at the forefront of your business. John L. Evans, Jr., Executive Director of Knowledge Labs Professional Development, explains that an individual’s “why” may be what leads to “purpose beyond self,” but that for an organization, the “why” leads each employee to “create extraordinary moments for clients” — something clients will see when it’s apparent your employees aren’t just going through the motions.
- If your organization has a mission statement or even an unspoken but deeply held vision, make sure employees know what values should drive their service delivery for your clients.
- If your organization doesn’t have a compelling “why,” get started on one by evaluating what your organization has set out to accomplish.
- If your employees don’t know why they’re fulfilling your service orders, your clients may not know why either.
Retaining clients for a service-based business may require a different strategy than retaining a purchase-based customer, but the end goal is the same: keep your clients coming back for more.