Some firms are consistently focused on employee retention and mindful of the technology that they can use to keep good employees, which we know is very important. On the other hand, sometimes we have on blinders when we look at new technologies in our Firms and can’t or don’t see how each of the pieces will help us not only retain employees but also help our employees be more efficient and productive, which, in turn, keeps our clients satisfied and loyal. Our Clients and the services we provide are, in turn, how we pay the salaries of our employees whom we so badly want to retain.
As we continue to move more towards remote work and our use of technology continues to grow exponentially our Clients are becoming more skilled and more comfortable with the use of technology to send and receive information. So how can we make sure that when we are evaluating new technologies that it is not just a one-sided view, but rather a view of how this technology could be valuable to our clients, help us retain them, and even gain new clients?
Here are 4 questions to ask when vetting and applying new technologies to make sure you are covering more than just your employees but your clients as well.
1. What does my Client want?
Know your client! What are their goals in working with you? This isn’t “The Client is always right” mantra, this is a legitimate question. Do you know what your clients want? Have you asked them? Have colleagues passed along feedback from your clients? Do you have someone in your office taking this information and putting it in a place where it can be reviewed? Maybe you have not spoken directly to a client but I promise there is someone in your office who has and they most likely have received an earful on your clients dislikes about some process or procedure in your office. On the other hand, although they are not as typical, you most likely have a colleague who has also spoken to a client about what is wonderful about some process or procedure you currently have. Your clients have opinions and expectations on how they correspond, communicate and work with your employees. Figure out what they want, why they want that, and how you can provide them better tools to do all the things they find or label as important so they feel the technology you use is an added value to them.
2. How does this technology benefit my Clients?
It’s not just about your employees (sorry to all the employees). Yes, we want to keep our employees happy, engaged, and constantly growing and learning and we want to provide them with the best tools to do this, but if this technology does not have some sort of benefit to your Clients, is it really worth it? While we work hard to create technology that makes things easier for our employees, we should be doing the same for our Clients. We must look at the overall customer experience and see if these technologies improve and offer a critical boost to the human factor.
3. Are we as a firm providing all the resources needed for our Clients to be successful using our current technologies?
When you move to new applications and technologies in your firm, there is a process. Change Management, requires many steps to make sure your employees buy-in to new things. This is not just an internal process, but will always have an effect on your clients as well and if you are not thinking ahead your clients will be the ones who could suffer. You don’t purchase new internal applications and expect all of your employees to just jump in and go, and you can’t expect that your clients will do this either. Make sure you are providing your clients with the tools they need to be successful, but also with the know-how to do so. Most client-facing technologies are simple and that is by design. Technology companies have worked hard to make sure their applications are easy to use and have a very little learning curve. Creating a 30-second video with information on how your Clients can get started may save you from 100 phone calls. Give clients the tools, but more importantly, give them the resources to use those tools to their highest level. A good technology company will help you with this and, most likely, will have templates you can copy from.
4. Are we using technology that helps me get to know my clients better?
Our Clients are using technology more and more, and because of changes even in the past year, we have also seen the face-to-face time we have with our Clients take a 180. We need to continue to find ways to build and foster these relationships with our Clients without being able to see them. Just providing a good service will not keep and retain your Clients, but finding new ways to better know your clients is key to ensuring long-term loyalty. Maintaining the conversation with your clients past the busy season and deepening that relationship is a proven customer retention strategy. Find ways to use your current technologies to look past the current services they use to keep data and track statistics that will help you identify more opportunities with the Client. Find ways within your tools or find new tools that use customer analytics and AI technologies to engage and interact with your Clients using emotional intelligence to help you maintain the relationship, build new relationships, and optimize the monetization of possibilities for every Client.