Meeting with new and existing clients is a key responsibility for businesses in all industries. But, let’s face it: Meetings get a pretty bad rap across the board. For the most part, we’d all rather be doing something to help our clients rather than just sitting around talking about doing it. To that end, it’s easy to inadvertently start thinking of client meetings as a “necessary evil” of sorts.
This, of course, isn’t the right way to go. Client meetings aren’t just something to “get through” in order to actually start providing services to your customers.
Rather, client meetings are an essential part of the process of serving your audience in the first place. Without a clear-cut strategy for how to approach these meetings, there’s no way your team will be able to serve your clientele to the best of their ability. That said, let’s take a look at four key benefits your organization will experience by improving your client meeting processes.
Improve Your Customer Relationships—and Increase Your Conversion and Retention Rates
As explained in Doodle’s recent report, Growing Client Loyalty Remotely: “Customer trust and loyalty play a major role in the growth and success of any company today. It comes down to certain factors, such as interacting one-to-one with clients, dedicating enough time to each client and, ultimately, being highly focused and productive to deliver high-quality results.”
We weren’t just shooting from the hip here either. According to Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer Special Report, 55 percent of consumers say they place more trust in brands that provide top-notch products or service and treat their customers well.
To be clear, treating client meetings as a “necessary evil” or something to “get through” will sour your target audience to your brand altogether. If your meetings with new and existing clientele are consistently disorganized, uninformative, rushed, or even mechanical, your clients will notice—and they won’t be happy.
But, treating your client meetings as an important and essential part of your overall processes will make your dedication to your customers crystal clear. For your new prospects and soon-to-be-customers, these meetings set the stage for what to expect from your team moving forward. If you can hammer home your dedication to their success from the get-go, their trust will be yours to lose.
Think about it: If you set expectations for your potential clients and lay out a clear strategy as to how to best approach their situation, they’ll have little reason not to give you their business. On the contrary, if you don’t provide this information from the onset, your prospects may think twice about opening their wallets for your company.
For your current customers—those who have experienced continuing success while working with your team—a strong kick-off meeting will reinforce what they already know: You’re here for them, you care for them and you’ll do whatever needs to be done to help them succeed.
Of course, converting and retaining your clientele also requires that you follow through with the promises you make at these meetings. That goes without saying.
But, in looking to improve the potential for initial conversions and ongoing retention, you must be willing to do what’s necessary to start each engagement on the right foot. Build trust from the onset of your client relationships and you’ll inherently grow a strong following of loyal, engaged customers as time goes on.
Gain More Efficient Use of Resources
Ensuring that your client meetings add to the value of your overall customer experience will definitely take some effort on your part. And you’ll definitely need to invest time, money and other resources into the process.But the reality is that you’ll end up expending way more resources by taking a less-strategic (and more haphazard) approach to meeting with your clients.
As Doodle explained in its white paper, Comprehensive Guide to Scheduling Technology Platforms, the drain on company resources can be overwhelming. And this statement only focuses on the issues faced when scheduling meetings. If your client meeting processes are inefficient across the board, well…the drain on your resources may cripple your organization altogether.
Doodle’s State of Meetings Report 2019 estimates that poorly organized meetings cost US businesses $41 billion annually. While this applies to internal meetings as well, it’s safe to say that inefficient client meetings are also a major part of the problem here.
So, for one thing, making improvements to your client meeting processes will allow you to get the absolute most out of the resources you invest in said process. With fewer redundancies and less friction, you’ll be able to put these resources to productive use—and will minimize waste throughout your organization. What’s more, you’ll then have a surplus of resources on hand to invest into future client meetings and other processes.
Since you aren’t expending excess resources, you’ll have more resources “left over” after a given meeting has concluded, right? So, you’ll not only be spending less—you’ll also be doing more with what you have. In having these additional resources on hand, you’ll be able to give full attention to your various processes—rather than merely scraping by with the bare minimum.
A few ways that improving your meeting processes can lead to more efficiency for your team:
Creating a solid agenda for your meetings before the fact allows you to stay on the right path and focus on what’s important to your clients and your team members. Your meetings will be kept short and to-the-point and will never again be seen as time wasted that could be better spent elsewhere.
Ironing out the logistics of your meeting processes (e.g. automating the process of scheduling meetings) means less time and energy will be spent on the backend legwork of meetings—and more time will be spent engaging with and providing value to your clients.
Providing clients with access to in-depth follow-up information in an automated way (i.e., via your customer-facing knowledge base) allows them to get what they need from your team without needing to engage directly with them.
Again, with these measures in place, you won’t need to spread your team’s resources thin (which in itself is doing a disservice to your client base). Rather, you’ll always have exactly what you need on hand to ensure a positive experience for everyone involved in the process.
Optimize the Path to Success
This combines much of what we’ve spoken about thus far. By building a strong foundation on which to build your client relationships—and properly investing the resources needed to effectively move forward—you’ll create a clear path to success and growth.
This goes for both your customers and your company. On the client side, your successful meetings will have accomplished a number of tasks: For one, you’ll have set the stage for your clients to feel comfortable engaging with your team as they work toward their goals. Your clients may feel uncertain or otherwise unsure of their own abilities when initially coming to you for help. And, of course, they’ll also be facing the stress of dealing with the issue they’re facing in the first place.
It’s your duty, then, to use these meetings as a means of addressing these issues and allaying their worries altogether. That way, they can take steps forward in confidence—without the added weight of uncertainty on their shoulders.
Secondly, in creating a blueprint, workflow, or plan of attack for your clients from the get-go, you’ll allow them to envision the journey they’re about to embark on before they even get started. This will better equip them to handle any bumps in the road they may face, and will allow them to get the most out of your services at every touchpoint along the way.
Finally, by providing your clients access to additional resources from the onset, they’ll know exactly what to do if they do face any roadblocks in their journey. Whether via self-service methods, or by contacting your service and support staff, your customers should always know which way to turn should they need some help along the way.
Improving your client meeting processes will also pave a clear path to success for your company, as well. First of all, you’ll be able to use these meetings to learn as much as you can about your individual customers. This will allow you to match them to the products and services that will best fit their needs—and connect each individual client with the right member of your team, to boot.
Similarly, because you’ll have a clear idea of your individual client’s needs, you’ll know what your team members will need to do to help them along their journey. In turn, you can allocate resources as appropriate well ahead of time—instead of scrambling to support your clientele only after they hit a snag.
A few things you can do to optimize the path to success on both sides of the coin:
Create standardized documentation regarding your client meeting processes, detailing the information you need to uncover, the questions you’ll need to ask, and anything else you need to know to point your clients in the right direction.
Flesh out your audience personas and individual customer personas with as much information as possible. This will help supplement the above process, uncovering information you may not have anticipated, or that you may have unwittingly overlooked.
Centralize your knowledge of your customers and the meetings you have with them. This will ensure your team members are always equipped to do what needs to be done to help your clientele at any point along their journey.
Improve Your Bottom Line
At this point, we know that improving your client meeting processes can lead to:
More conversions, and improved client retention
More efficient use of company resources
A clearer path to success for your clients and your company
All of this, bundled together, will lead to major gains for your business.
Conversely, a subpar approach to client meetings will only cut into your bottom line—in numerous ways:
Excess time spent righting wrongs or getting back on track — which leads to financial losses equivalent to the man-hours spent on these redundant processes
Repeated meetings and increased customer service instances due to lack of preparation for both parties — meaning less time and energy spent on making progress
Loss of business due to a failure to provide for your clientele — or even due to a poor customer experience along their path to success
It’s simple. For your business to succeed and thrive, you need to start your customer relationships and engagements off on the right foot. If you can get your new and existing clients off and running efficiently and effectively every time you meet with them, success for all will surely follow.
Ready to start improving the processes involved in your own client meetings? Doodle’s scheduling software takes the grunt work out of organizing your team’s various meetings—allowing you to focus your energy on serving your clientele to the best of your ability.