2016: New Year, New Business!
It’s almost 2016. As you watch 2015 close, you’re probably thinking about things that you can do to make 2016 the best it can possibly be for your business. Remember that happy clients tell their friends. Here are some ways that you can keep your clients happy and encourage new business growth.
Responsive Customer Service
Earlier this year, we discussed why customer service is a dying art (and what you can do about it) in this post. The new year is the perfect time to examine your customer service procedures and improve them to meet the expectations of your clients. Let’s face it – the clients’ opinions of your customer service is what matters. They are the ones with the option to take their money elsewhere. That makes their opinion vital to the success of your business. You can put together a simple survey (without identifying information) regarding your customer service policies and history. Make sure that you ask your clients what you can do to enhance their experience with your customer service team.
Pro Tip: How long does it take for you or your customer service team to return phone calls? Make it a goal for your company in 2016 to return all business related phone calls within 24 business hours. This may seem close to impossible particularly if you’re a doctor or a lawyer. After all, there are some questions that are asked that require research (in addition to managing the rest of your daily responsibilities). Yet, if you take just five minutes out of the next day to return the client’s call to tell them that you’re still researching the matter (and that you did not forget about them), you’ll find that your customer loyalty increases.
Improving Accounts Receivable Can Create New Business
Improving your accounts receivable can create new business opportunities for you. First, you must take an honest look at your accounts receivable practices from beginning to end. This means taking a look at your client intake and credit management policies, your invoices and how they are handled, your payment methods, and your collections process. That can certainly seem like a tall order, but it’s well worth it. When you are able to streamline or correct problems within your accounts receivable policies and procedures, you are able to make more time to grow your business. Your invoices should go out at the same time each month. You should have a clearly defined set of billing processes and procedures in writing. You should accept payments in ways that make it convenient for your clients to pay their bills (such as online payment processing). You should have and follow clear collections guidelines that outline when an account becomes delinquent, the actions that you will take, and if and when you will place the past due account for collections. When your accounts receivable runs in a logical, streamlined manner, it makes your clients happier. They know what to expect. Happy clients give referrals. A better accounts receivable process frees up your time when it is well-documented and easy to follow.
Pro Tip: Get a third party perspective regarding your AR policies and procedures. Attorney's A.R.M. provides a free, no-obligation process review. You can book yours here and get 2016 off to a great start.
Proactive Solutions for Your Clients
Put yourself in the place of your clients. What do they really need from you? The easy answer is that they need the service that you offer, but what’s the real answer? If you’re a doctor, in addition to your healing hands, do your patients need help with filing their insurance claims? You may be thinking, “They probably do, but that’s not my job.” Yet, if they had help with their insurance claims, there could be a chance that you get paid faster from both the insurance company and the patient.
Your proactive solutions will be unique to your business. Think about the pain points that your business solves. Then, think about the other issues that arise because of those pain points. What are some things that you can do to help? Also, think about other areas of your business. Take payments, for instance. If you have a client that suddenly isn’t following their usual payment behavior, contact them. This isn’t a collections call. It’s actually you being proactive to help your client avoid future collections. Are they having an internal payment problem? Are they having cash flow issues? Did they get their bill? Is there a way that you can make it easier for them to pay you? Even if you must close their credit line and take a payment plan to receive funds for a past due balance, that’s better than not getting paid at all.
Ask for Referrals
One way to grow your business is to ask for referrals. You can do this by phone, email, or even send out a letter. This letter needs to be personalized. The idea is to remind your client about the good experience that they received from you and then ask them to give you a referral. You can send out an email that’s as simple as saying how much you appreciated working with your client in 2015 and look forward to a mutually beneficial 2016, and then asking if they know of anyone who could use your service? If they do, you can ask for an introduction. This is particularly easy to do via email. The client would simply write that person and copy you on it and write a short introduction. Then, you respond to both; first, you thank your client for introducing you. Then, you address the other party.
Here’s to a Profitable 2016!
There are a multitude of other ways that you can improve your business practices and increase your business opportunities. Examine your policies, think about customer service, and consider the needs of your clients to get the 2016 off to a profitable start. Don’t forget to contact us so that you can learn how we can save you time and money on your customer service, accounts receivable, and collections needs! You’ll be glad that you did.