Your business depends on a solid client base. You can offer the most useful product or service on the market, but without anyone to purchase it, your operation would fail.
But how do you acquire a massive clientele? As such, businesses must always have their eyes on the client-satisfaction prize. And building mutually beneficial client relationships starts with a functional contact management system.
Successful contact management ensures that clients receive shipments, appointment reminders, new product alerts, promotional offers, and more, informing them at the right time. And when business owners adequately manage contacts, they stay organized, gain insights from tracking client trends, and become better marketers.
Here’s all you need to know about successful contact management at your business.
So what is contact management?
A contact management system is a contemporary Rolodex. It provides a place to securely store client data –– such as names, phone numbers, and mailing addresses –– and manage client interactions.
Note: We sometimes refer to contact management tools as customer relationship management (CRM) systems because both systems help businesses maintain healthy client relationships. But contact managers (CMs) are slightly different from CRMs. CMs are lightweight tools with limited functionality, primarily allowing users to store client data. CRM software, however, helps business owners take a strategic approach to client contact, as these tools offer metrics on effective communication and insights into purchase trends.
How does contact manager software work?
Basic contact management software stores contact details allowing users to locate client data as needed quickly. For example, a business owner can pull up a repeat client’s mailing address when sending a package.
A more advanced contact management software comes with a suite of features. These may include e-commerce integrations and metrics on client order history, email campaign success, and social media interactions. These platforms offer contact segmenting, mobile access, automated data entry, and project management tools. Compared with their traditional counterparts, the modern version is multi-faceted, helping business owners streamline client data and engagement.
The benefits of using contact management tools
Small businesses should use a contact management system, even if barebones. Entrepreneurs already have a lot on their plates, so having a disorganized contact system only adds to their frustrations and workload. But contact management tools help them stay agile. Here are some key benefits of using one:
- Makes basic contact more agile and secure: You’ll need customer contact information to mail a client a product, email them about an upcoming appointment, or send them a coupon. Sure, you can keep a spreadsheet with client data and pull information from it as needed, but contact management systems offer an additional security layer. Protecting information using a professional contact management tool generates trust with your clients.
- Captures your client interactions: A large part of running a successful business is marketing it well. With a contact management tool, especially a high-powered one like a CRM platform, you can easily visualize your interaction history with a client and what type of contact they connect with most. Let’s say you notice a significant client percentage doesn’t open your monthly newsletter. This could be because they can’t resonate with your content, pushing you to shift the text’s angle. Or, suppose you track that a particular client regularly orders one of your products. You may want to reach out with a coupon as a way of saying thanks for the client’s loyalty. These moves foster bonds and keep clients coming back.
- Enhances the customer experience: The level of organization a contact management system provides lets business owners fulfill orders or offer services in a more streamlined way. For example, a CRM tool with an e-commerce integration may automate time-consuming aspects of the fulfillment project by taking secure payment and quickly generating shipping labels. Or, CRM software could take an appointment booking, put it on your calendar, and send a reminder to the client before the meeting.
- Improves team collaboration: Unless you’re a solopreneur, you have colleagues who must access client data to fulfill their tasks. A centralized contact management platform allows you to share data across your team. Since these tools automatically update when anyone on the team makes a change, everyone instantly works with the latest information.
- Gains insights: A CRM software tells you what your clients want in services, products, content, and promotions thanks to robust metrics tracking. You can review the most engaging emails and social media posts, successful products or packages, and client feedback, helping you improve your offering and audience understanding.
How to choose contact management tools
Contact management tools are so popular that many related business platforms, from project management systems to e-commerce sites, have added this functionality to their products. It can be challenging to navigate the wealth of options, so here’s a guide to finding the correct tool for your business. Ask yourself:
- How many people need access? You may be able to use simple tools with limited functionality until your team grows, and you need a platform with shared access capability.
- What is your business’ critical function? If you own a service-focused company, look for an app to contact clients directly and make appointments. Or, if you offer products, find a tool that helps you fulfill orders and track sales data.
- How do you plan to use the tool? If you primarily want to securely manage data, set this as the base requirement in your search. But if you need email marketing capabilities, look for a tool emphasizing emails.
Practice: the right CRM for small service-oriented businesses
At Practice, we understand that streamlining contact management saves small business owners time and improves client interactions. So we created a CRM tool to help.
Our Client Management Software allows entrepreneurs to securely save client contact information, receive payment, and send messages –– all in one place. Service-focused businesses can also use Practice’s tool to take appointments, turning leads into first sessions.
Not only this, but if you also want information on financial planning, social media marketing, or brand voice, head to The Practice Blog. Our resource library will help you learn more about business management and make informed decisions. Try Practice today.