Accounting companies have been slower to adopt the concept of customer relationship management than other industries. Instead, many organizations still rely on spreadsheets for their business development and other event management activities, potentially missing out on opportunities to maximize revenue by proactively managing leads and selling additional services to clients.
The primary issue with traditional paper-based methods to manage customer relationships is that data might be held in various spreadsheets and is often inaccurate. When you don’t have an accurate view of your organization’s interactions with a customer, it is difficult to find and respond to client needs.
Generally, accounting enterprises put a lot of resources into managing projects and monitoring time, efficiency, and engagement limits. Today, with the advancements in technology, this administrative burden can be eliminated. A robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can help businesses reinforce their relationships with clients, and allow team members to communicate more efficiently with each other.
One of the key areas where accounting companies see the benefits is through bid management. Information from the CRM system can be used to track wasted effort and highlight opportunities to customize and target services to specific clients at the right time. Also, it would be easy to find cross-selling opportunities and potential new clients.
E-commerce businesses are clever at capturing data from customer transactions and interactions and using it to generate sales by providing personalized recommendations across the buying process from product findings to checkout. Also, airlines take advantage of their digital platforms to get customer email addresses when a ticket is booked and use this information to offer relevant post-purchase add-ons, such as cab rental or hotel at the right time.
Accounting companies measure work in progress, fees, and debtors, but often neglect their pipeline of prospects. Basically, they need an automated system for gathering contact details of prospects that they can use for email communications and events. Most companies use spreadsheets for this, but the more that they focus on specific sectors, the more crucial it becomes to be able to capture data from a broad range of sources to find and aim specific categories of potential clients. Digital newsfeeds, alerts, and social media, are areas that determined enterprises are starting to use for business development. Companies should also have the ability to be able to assess the value and impact of this activity because of the money that goes into marketing collateral, surveys, memberships, and others.
The ability to engage with clients on various platforms and channels is becoming a vital feature of the customer experience. Today, most of the large enterprises use customer relationship management to manage client relationships. The main reason is better understand the customer in detail across all departments because, in larger enterprises, there may be departments that do not collaborate with each other. Finance departments are often a significant source of data that can be used to find trends and develop business-specific services for customers.
CRM is a top priority for professional services companies – this is a response to customer demands for more flawless and timely interaction. When it is properly adopted and led from the top with partners setting an example and encouraging their teams, CRM can be a great tool with the capacity to gather and analyze important data, leading to opportunities that may otherwise be lost.
Though there are privacy and data protection issues to keep in mind, particularly in light of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Data management is a big issue for firms using cloud services, while most software providers now offer EU-based hosting. As data controllers, accounting companies need to ensure their data protection processes and policies are up-to-date. Also, businesses need to take appropriate steps to protect the security of their customers’ data, and their hosting partners are GDPR-compliant.
Most technology investments by accounting firms have been focused around client and billing systems, which tend to leave a blind spot in customer management activities. Transactional engagement with customers is fine if that is what your business model is built for, but keeping clients up to date on market, compliance, competitor, or sector information that is relevant and timely is the key to business growth.
An advanced software system like SutiCRM empowers you to collect, analyze, and interpret data, which is critical for the customer experience and for business planning. Also, it helps manage internal databases and potential data sources, including web, email, and social media.