Client Relationships Are Everything for Small Businesses; How Cloud-Based Technology Can Help

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So, which cloud-based tools are actually best investments for SMBs to cultivate profitable relationships with their customers?

By Jaykishan Panchal

One of the key competitive advantages that small businesses have against big-name corporations is the fact that they can truly foster individual relationships with their customers. In an SMB, clients are not just numbers in a database – most of the time they have a face, a name and a strong history with the company.

In order to maintain these meaningful connections, small businesses should be utilizing the best tools available. As you are probably quite aware, it is far less expensive to re-engage a repeat customer than it is to acquire a new one. Plus, returning customers tend to have higher lifetime values and spend more per order. In fact, repeat customers spend an average of 31% more than new ones.

Cloud-based technology can mean the difference between a long-lasting, profitable relationship with a client and a one-time buyer. These tools make it possible for SMBs to easily access key information that is critical to maintaining healthy connections with their clients and customers. Of course, there are numerous digital programs available – and many of them come with lots of unnecessary features with high price tags.

Cloud-based programs are typically the best option for smaller businesses since they can be accessed both in and out of the office. Moreover, all information can be shared instantly throughout the organization.

So, which cloud-based tools are actually best investments for SMBs to cultivate profitable relationships with their customers?

Cloud-based Invoice Management for Accurate Billing Cycles

Want to know the quickest way to frustrate a customer and lose their trust? Send them a miscalculated bill.

Even though it may be a simple accounting error, it can be enough to make a client question your business’s accuracy at every turn and hinder the likelihood of a repeated sale. Other accounting issues such as late payments, miscalculated reimbursements, or inaccurate estimates can also destroy a relationship with a client.

A cloud-based accounting tool is the best option here for SMBs because it will keep up with changes automatically so that nothing is lost, overestimated, or misconstrued. CloudBooks is a tool that is specifically designed for small businesses and freelancers who need to create professional accounting documents and keep track of finances.

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Companies can create their own templates that match their branding, automatically update and adjust the numbers, as well as create customized reports to stay on top of all finances.

The benefit here of a cloud-based system is the fact that all reports are accessible and easily edited in real-time. If you are talking to a client and need to make some alterations to an estimate report or if they are offered a special discount, changes can be made instantly and all financial reports will sync automatically.

This lessens the likelihood of invoicing mistakes and it can help you keep track of your billing history with all past clients.

Visual Interaction Software for Lead Management

If you’ve ever called into a customer service line and been bounced around from department to department, you know exactly how frustrating it is to keep repeating your situation over and over again every time you get transferred. Not only is it annoying, but it makes you feel like you really don’t matter to the company. This is why an integrated CRM tool is incredibly important for businesses of all sizes – including SMBs.

It is important that every interaction with a client is recorded and tracked so the notes are accurate and leads are not either harassed or forgotten about by the sales team. This is super important when time is truly of the essence. If a sales representative is able to follow up in a short amount of time by keeping close track of all past interactions, it could boost the chances of conversion.

Visual interaction tools like Monday make it much easier to stay on top of nurturing and lead management by organizing all tasks into a visual board.

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This program is also great for group projects because it keeps individual tasks organized and marks each person’s progress.

Every single interaction can be recorded through this tool and everyone on the team can access each targeted account’s information so they know exactly where the client falls on the buyer’s journey and what needs to happen to nurture the lead towards a sale.

Customer Service Communication Channels for Problem Resolution

Fantastic customer service is typically what sets SMBs apart, often because of their caring employees and the special attention that they can give to customers. But apart from just having great people behind the brand, small businesses also need to keep up with changing preferences and technology to provide great service.

According to a survey from LivePerson, many customers still want to be able to reach a customer service rep by phone or email. However, 57% would prefer to use a live chat service and 51% would prefer self-help type options, such as an FAQ page. Plus, more and more customers these days are turning to social media to get in touch with brands directly when they have a question or a concern.

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It is extremely important for SMBs to keep up with consumer preferences to provide a superior customer experience. Tools like LiveAgent are designed to help small companies keep their customer service systems organized by offering multiple communication options.

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This tool can be used for live chat sessions, phone calls, social channels, and support portals so each customer can choose how they want to be helped. Customer service reps can also create customer tickets with tags for segmentation and distribution so each person is connected with the exact department that can assist them best.

Conclusion

There is no real way to measure exactly how valuable a customer relationship is to a small business. By using cloud-based tools, all of the necessary information that is needed for effective client management is available right at everyone’s fingertips.

Plus, all interactions and information can be updated and altered in real-time so nothing gets lost along the way. By embracing this kind of customer relationship technology, SMBs can continue to offer superior customer experiences that will help them attract and retain more clients and compete against large corporations.

Jaykishan Panchal is an SEO & Content Marketing Manager at E2M Solutions Inc. Implementing cutting edge SEO strategies to help businesses strengthen their online presence is his forte. Apart from helping small and big businesses, he loves to jot down valuable resources for Entrepreneurs, Startups, Technology Geeks with his knowledge and expertise of 9 years in the industry.

Cloud-based tech stock photo by ImageFlow/Shutterstock

The post Client Relationships Are Everything for Small Businesses; How Cloud-Based Technology Can Help appeared first on SmallBizDaily.

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