How technology can help you nurture client relationships

Taking a client-centric approach to business development is nothing new for financial and accounting firms – it’s essential to growth – but technology today is breaking new ground to allow you to analyse, listen to, and speak to your clients in a much easier way.

The best thing is, these new technologies are all about breaking down siloed walls and consolidating exsiting software platforms to help you engage with your clients in a meaningful, profitable and far more simplistic way, without having to reinvent the wheel.

Enhancing the client-centric approach

Effective business development, building client relationships, and client retention, all comes down to ensuring your clients’ needs are at the centre of everything you do.

This “client-centric” approach is all about designing services that respond to client needs and collaborating with clients to deliver those services in an effective way.

Umlaut IT says that the rise of digital media and technology has led to the increasing popularity of this approach, and the rise in client-centric software, such as Xeppo has enabled its evolution.

“To visualise the client-centric approach, imagine the client at the centre of a star. Each point of the star represents a service or other significant business operation,” Umlaut IT says.

“Client-centric approaches are an increasingly popular (and successful) way of doing business, but the Xeppo approach goes a step further.”

Xeppo – a world-first financial advisory and accounting tool – allows you to delve further into your client data, using existing software to extract information and recognise opportunities.

The beauty of it is that you can leverage the software you already have, so there’s no need to down-tools or change systems.

“Far from being a revolution of client-based systems, Xeppo software is actuating an evolution in the way we interact with our clients,” Umlaut IT says.

“If you can picture your client-centred star again, with service points running to and from the client, what Xeppo software does is connect those services to each other.”

Understand your clients’ needs

Forbes says that the best way to maintain relationships with clients is to become invaluable to them.

“The more value you offer, the more a client comes to depend on you,” they say.

“Don’t hesitate to share information clients may find useful, whether or not it benefits you in any way.”

One way to do this according to Macquarie is to make the most of your CRM tools.

“Most practices already have customer relationship management (CRM) tools on hand, built into popular planning platforms like XPLAN, COIN and Midwinter,” Macquarie say.

“By using your CRM tools well, you can ensure you don’t let high-value clients slip through your fingers, simply because you’ve been neglecting them.”

Xeppo provides seamless integration across a number of CRM platforms, including those that fact find, provide advice about clients, and consolidate client portfolios.

Xeppo tracks client activity across platforms and manages tasks so that you can stay on top of your client’s needs, and uncover new opportunities.

Seamless integration to your clients’ personal banking, properties and investment systems through Xeppo also gives you a holistic understanding of clients’ finances so you can be on the front-foot at all times.

These client-centric apps give you a broader understanding of what service lines your clients are using, and those they aren’t utilising, so you can potentially offer them more services within your firm, whether that’s accounting advisory, or investment, you can be a one-stop-shop for your clients by identifying their needs through data – which is good for the client and your firm.

Give, give, give, ask

Marketing-guru, entrepreneur and author Gary Vaynerchuck says the key to finding and maintaining new clients in our digital world is to first give, then ask.

“My entire business philosophy pretty much revolves around the jab jab jab right hook method,” he says.

“Jabs are the value you provide your customers with: the content you put out, the good things you do to convey your appreciation. And the right hook is the ask: it’s when you go in for the sale ask for a subscribe, ask for a donation.”

While this might sound opportunistic, digital marketing including: search engine optimisation (SEO), content marketing, and social media marketing, is all about providing potential customers and clients with the things they are searching for, the information they need, and the entertainment they like, to build enough of a relationship to ask them how you can help.

If your accounting or financial advisory firm is starting out with digital marketing suggests engaging potential and existing clients via email marketing and social media.

“Update them (clients) on industry trends potentially affecting them, as well as your take on upcoming issues,” he says.

“Let them in on your visions for their (and your) success, and then explain your take on achieving it.

“Social media is a great common connector, so use it wisely to keep the channels open.”

Entrepreneur magazine concurs, listing email marketing as one of its top five ways to build customer relationships.

“E-mail marketing keeps relationships strong on a shoestring budget. Build your reputation as an expert by giving away some free insight,” they say.

“For just pennies per customer, you can distribute an e-mail newsletter that includes tips, advice and short items that entice consumers and leave them wanting more.

“And it’s viral: contacts and customers who find what you do interesting or valuable will forward your e-mail message or newsletter to other people, just like word of mouth marketing.”

You can use a number of software platforms to make social and email marketing easier for you and your team, such as social media management tools like Hootsuite and Sprout; and email marketing platforms such as MailChimp.

You can also create targeted marketing lists by using your customer relationship management (CRM) system to segment your clients by industry, interest or service and speak to them directly about their needs.

For example, if you have a series of retail clients, you could segment these clients using your CRM and serve them with emails featuring content specific to the retail industry. You can use Xeppo’s Marketing App to integrate your list of retail clients with Mailchimp and serve them with content specific to finance and accounting in retail.

To find out how Xeppo can consolidate your key accounting or financial advisory software systems see the full list of current connectors at Xeppo.