I believe there are two key client engagement tools:
- A standard set of ‘needs analysis’ questions to ask client and prospects
- A Client Relationship Management (CRM) system that captures opportunities in order to follow-up clients on a timeline specified by them and, subsequently, manage the project execution
A software suite where these two tools collaborate with each other is even better. This is what we use in our consulting firm and it’s the MYP WITY (What’s Important To You?) software and the MYP CRM program, ARM Pro.
I have used a number of needs analysis tools and CRM’s over the years but, as mentioned, there is a significant advantage in automating the flow of data between the two. Furthermore, the MYP WITY is the only needs analysis tool I know that asks clients what’s important and how are you doing at that? rather than what do you need or do you have this? The WITY survey also involves questions which are both personal and business related. As any experience adviser knows, these areas are often strongly linked.
Below is an infographic we’ve created to demonstrate the process from different perspectives:
If you don’t currently utilise these systems or if you have a different set that’s ok, as the principles are the same. You can even start small by using Excel to capture the follow-up on two or three clients and work your way up from there.
A little disclaimer: introducing these tools requires behavioural change, particularly in a typical professional services business. In my experience, the most common hurdle I see for firms during the implementation phase of WITY are my clients won’t complete a survey or I (the adviser) don’t like the questions and the list goes on. Other reasons the process may cause problems are:
- The software we use daily such as MYOB AE, XPM, Handisoft and APS, manage job delivery but NOT client engagement. There is a significant difference
- Historically our strengths do not include managing client wants and expectations and, as a result, we do not think to use systems that make us more efficient at it
I understand the pain that comes with change. It has taken me a bit of discipline to habitually utilise the CRM functions, in particular the follow-ups. However, doing it poorly is better than not doing it at all and, of course, doing it well is even better. Baby steps and perseverance are the key.
Finding out and understanding what our clients want at all levels, is at the core of effective client engagement. How do we find out what our clients want, unless we ask them? Also, if we can ask them in a systemised and driven way that collects and prioritises their responses as well as establishes their gaps, then this is more powerful. By looking at the gaps you can then identify the opportunities for offering multiple advice categories.
about the author
SAMANTHA DEAN | DIRECTOR, BLUEPRINTHQ
Samantha Dean is a passionate FCA with over 25 years in Public Practice, the last 10 in the business advisory space. She is well known for her passion in advising business owners to achieve their business goals without compromising their personal ones. As a practitioner, Sam knows firsthand what works and what doesn't when moving a practice from a traditional based compliance business model to a proactive advisory one.
This blog has been adapted from the blog of BlueprintHQ (with their permission). To visit BlueprintHQ’s website, please go to https://blueprinthq.com.au
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