Using your CRM to better communicate with clients
Sara Rowe, senior solutions consultant, IRESS looks at how to use a CRM system to make client communications more effective, particularly when addressing the majority of your client base
My experience in this industry has taught me the best way to cultivate strong relationships with my clients is by maintaining regular communication and making it relevant. Regular contact not only helps cement relationships by reassuring clients and building trust, it can also be a useful means to identify new opportunities and make improvements to the services you offer.
But let’s not underestimate the effort it takes to maintain this regular contact, particularly if you don’t have the right technology to hand.
A question of scale
According to the Investment Trends 2018 UK Adviser Technology Report the average adviser services 109 active clients, with sights on growing their client book. This could meancommunication is sparse or restricted to a subset of them to make it practical. One of the ways many firms manage this is by running bulk communications – sending anything from newsletters to useful reminders.
This can be time consuming, data heavy and is often a task outsourced to back-office staff who shoulder the burden under a myriad of excel spreadsheets and mail merges. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Making the most of your CRM
To navigate, maintain and organise your client base you need a CRM system that can help you deliver client communications more efficiently. One that can enable you to reach out to your clients on a large scale but in a personalised way to make sure your campaigns are more effective.
Many clients still prefer to receive communications via email or even mail. In XPLAN you can use the templates to create letters or emails entering the clients’ preferred name, or tailor the message to suit the clients’ preferred interests and add a personal sign off from the adviser. You can even specify in the email template whether the email is sent from the adviser or from another address. This gives the adviser, or firm, the ability to offer communications that are more tailored, relevant – and as a result, more welcome.
Your CRM isn’t static and needs ‘nurturing’ to keep it useful. In XPLAN you can use the Advanced Search function to find clients to add to a campaign, the ways you can search are numerous. For example, you can search things like: their interests, postcode region, address or policy provider. This means if you want to find all clients who live in the region of Manchester with a middle name of John, who have more than £50,000 funds under management and a wooden leg, you can do that.
To help with your GDPR compliance you can also add consent and marketing preferences on every search. By running a simple query or campaign you can create lists of clients that, for instance, prefer to receive email, or post. You can also use the advanced search to exclude clients who don’t wish to be, or shouldn’t be contacted, for example deceased clients.
All you need to do is ensure your client data is accurate and XPLAN’s filters can help you do this, locating areas where it is misaligned or blank.
Engaging client campaigns, not an admin chore
Once you’ve got your mailing list you’re ready to build your campaign.
If you use XPLAN Campaigns and the CRM for regular communications such as newsletters, you can track how successful your calls to action are and the responses against the campaign as they are returned. This can add so much value to your communications with clients as the resulting MI will help you to see how successful that campaign was and whether it is something worth repeating.
You can also use campaigns for face to face seminars, to track attendance costs and payments as well as schedule the appointment for the seminar in both the adviser’s and the client’s calendar.
By making use of XPLAN’s integration with MailChimp, you can collate client lists and send data from XPLAN to it to send emails. MailChimp tracks the click throughs and returns the MI direct into XPLAN against the campaign from which it originated.
All in the automation
To keep campaigns part of a strategic and timely, but not arduous, plan of action you can create, or use an existing campaign template and copy for use on a regular basis. Add your campaign settings such as whether diary events should be added or costs should be included and saved. And specify what outcomes you are looking to track for this particular activity such as the positive responses. These are your choices and can be campaign specific and will help you build a better picture of each client’s preferences and behaviours based on whatever campaign you are running.
Workflow can also be used with Campaigns allowing you to have different workflow or specific workflow pathways relevant to the stage that the client is at within it, so you take appropriate action depending on the scenario. For example, for the clients that were invited, but responded they cannot attend, you may want to send a specific email saying you’re sorry not to see them and then set an action to follow-up with a call in a few weeks.
To make this easier still, you can even use the Action Manager barcode reading feature on outgoing documents so that on their return, they can automate functions in XPLAN based on that barcode. It will auto complete data and consent preferences for instance, whilst automatically updating the client’s response to the campaign, saving the document and keeping the client’s record up-to-date automatically. This is a snap shot of the many actions made easier by the Action Manager functionality.
Addressing the challenge of bulk communications
These are just some of the answers to the challenge and reducing the work when dealing with bulk communications. The features and benefits not only save you considerable time but help improve your communication with clients, building trust and loyalty. And it should open-up other services and products you can provide to them. And that’s without even starting to talk about adding in digital communications.
Visit the IRESS website
More Articles Like This
Giving great service: What advisers can learn from the Japanese ethos
How we can help clients really achieve their life objectives
Deliver value for money while meeting the FCA’s expectations
7 tips to help deliver a better suitability report
Does your website really need to stand out from the crowd?