The advantages of using CRM for professional services
Some of the most successful organizations thrive because of their long-lasting relationship with their customers. Customer retention is as significant as lead conversions for any business. Modern and efficient CRM systems help organizations achieve such customer-driven goals. They help companies to make profits be it a corporate healthcare enterprise or a professional service provider like a law firm.
CRM systems are becoming an integral part of end-to-end business strategies for organizations of all sizes and across different industries. However, they are not (and should not be) implemented with a one-size-fits-all approach because the business models are different for every company. For example, firms that offer professional services may have a different attitude when it comes to closing a deal or maintaining customer relationships. Companies providing such services need to choose CRM that best fits their goals.
To understand the benefits of implementing CRM for professional services, let’s first look at how professional services operate differently as compared to traditional product-driven businesses.
How are companies that offer professional services different than traditional businesses?
Professional services do not sell products but offer specific expertise as services
Professional services do not provide products or even subscription-based services. They deploy the skills and knowledge of their personnel to gain customers. The niche expertise of their employees is their product.
Professional services may not always have a separate sales or marketing team
Often, companies that offer professional services do not have a dedicated sales team or sales processes as opposed to traditional corporate enterprises. In such companies, it is highly likely that the employees providing the service are also the ones making a sale. Also, as opposed to popular marketing strategies in traditional organizations, referrals and networking are of paramount importance for professional services when they want to get new customers. The results they get for their clients or how they perform for each client drive the profits. So, developing an excellent personal relationship with clients is always a priority.
Professional services need highly personalized data to remain scalable
As professional services offer customized services to every client, it could be easy to assume that they fall in the domain of small businesses. However, this may not always be true. For example, a small-sized law firm offering specialized legal advice may experience fast growth. So, it would need to keep its operations scalable and maintain one-on-one customer relationships at the same time. CRM for professional services can be handy in such situations as it makes the customer data easily accessible and retrievable on a central system.
Professional services do not have a traditional sales process
The regular sales cycles of organizations that sell products would not work for the professional services sector. Because, as mentioned earlier, their offerings could be unique for every new client. For instance, professional services may charge the clients on an hourly basis or according to predetermined deliverables. The SLAs also could be quite different for every client, and so, the process for every case could be specific. Monitoring time and progress are essential for such service-based firms. So, using separate tools to store customer information and track hourly work is not the most efficient way to manage businesses.
All such factors prove that professional services will profit by implementing CRM systems, but they cannot deploy CRMs the same way as traditional businesses do. So how can professional services make sure that they are using CRM software most optimally?
Firms offering professional services may have to deal with cases that could stretch over months, and such lengthy cases are complex in nature. With CRM, handling complex cases can be efficient and straightforward. A competent CRM solution puts you in control of the communication, documents, and data related to the cases. It organizes all of it into manageable parts and enables you to monitor them closely. For example, if you use Solastis CRM, then you could resolve prolonged cases by splitting them into logical steps with the sequential task management tool. The workflow becomes structured, and it becomes easier to pinpoint bottlenecks at every step or stage of the case. Let’s look in detail at what advantages can implementing CRM get you.
What are some of the immediate benefits of using Solastis CRM for professional services?
Convenient access to a central repository of all customer information
Professional services can stand out based on how best they use customer data to provide exceptional service. Cloud-based CRM systems are a great solution to organize a vast source of information on any number of clients efficiently. It becomes easy to store and retrieve details like customers’ contacts, preferences, and scheduled appointments. It also reduces the response time and the recurrence of errors while communicating with customers significantly.
Easy knowledge retention
With CRM, it is handy to update new data or retain existing client database, transactions, and email threads which potential future employees can use. Knowledge transfer becomes a cakewalk. Moreover, organizations can ensure that they can hold on to their existing clients while onboarding new personnel.
Better control over work
CRM gives an overall picture of all the inquiries, consultations, and available resources as well as prospects. It also tracks the time and identifies blocks for any particular process. As a result, CRM for professional services ensures that organizations do not miss out on opportunities or lag on deadlines to manage work more efficiently.
Efficient compliance management
Professional services need to meet the latest compliance standards in the regions where they operate or offer their services. They also need to comply with the requirements of the clients and the cases. It is also crucial for them to establish meticulous know-your-client (KYC) practices to prevent any loss of business due to litigation.
With a competent CRM system, professional service providers can store and share relevant compliance documents. Then, they can ensure that users are meeting the necessary regulatory requirements with full visibility. For example, professional services that need to comply with GDPR terms can implement CRM systems that encourage transparency among users. They can also keep the source of the client data retrievable as and when required.
Automation of repetitive tasks
Running a successful business can involve repetitive administrative tasks that can affect personnel’s productivity negatively. For example, consultants may require to carry out regular email communication in addition to face-to-face meetings. They may likely have to communicate a range of services that their firms offer every time they email a client. With CRM, advisors can store and automate canned responses in their CRM inboxes, so they do not spend time writing every message from scratch. Professional advisors may also need to schedule meetings or tasks, and CRM can automate timely reminders. Such automation usually leads to time efficiency.
Increased customer satisfaction
With comprehensive information available at their fingertips through CRM, consultants can give targeted advice according to specific requirements of the clients. For example, a client may want to be contacted only by email, and in most CRMs, there is a provision to add such preferences to clients’ database. If the advisors can cater to such personal preferences, it would improve the client’s experience with the firm.
So, as you can see, professional service providers only stand to gain by implementing competent CRM.
You could consider using Solastis CRM for your firm if you want to improve your customer relationships. In addition to the abovementioned advantages, Solastis CRM for professional services has some specific practical benefits. In Solastis, you can treat every client’s case as a project without getting into the complexities of full-fledged project management tools. It is also compatible with most billing software so you can insert invoices within the CRM and stay in control of your costs. Above all, it can generate useful reports for every client and monitor your growth as a professional services provider.