By the time you’re the Director of Client Services for an organization, you already know your stuff. Customer communication comes instinctively to you. You know how to manage a crisis. You know how to ask questions that reveal opportunities to add value, and you know how to turn the answers into action plans that keep your customers coming back for more. In short, you know how to grow a book of business by engaging customers and putting their needs first.
And chances are, you’ve been doing it for years without the support of a KAM-specific software tool. You might be using your own personal blend of tools: Email, text, and phone. Spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. Maybe a CRM, if that’s how your company pursues new business. So why add a KAM-specific tool to your tech stack now?
The right KAM software can make you an even more effective Client Services Director by helping you:
- Cultivate a checklist mindset, prompting and sequencing critical customer engagements while diagnosing account health in real time
- Improve visibility with a single source of truth, capturing client goals, feedback, and deliverables in a single dashboard, even for multiple accounts
- Harness the power of data, using real-time KPI tracking and data visualization to inform client-facing and internal account reviews
- Create clear expectations for your team, with a strong internal process that improves performance and performance reviews
Let’s take a closer look at each of these things, and how they help you be more effective not only with your clients, but also with your team.
Cultivating a Checklist Culture
Aviation is well known for its checklist culture. From their first day of training to their last day of flying, pilots at every level use checklists for nearly every aspect of flight. They use them not only to sequence their actions, but also to diagnose the flight itself periodically throughout. (Are we heading in the right direction? Is the engine running smoothly? How is our fuel supply?)
The mindset isn’t that as you get more experienced, you need the checklist less—the mindset is: We’re human. We get distracted. We miss things. In fact, the more experienced we are, the more prone we are to getting comfortable, and forgetting something major. When the stakes are high, checklists are a calm and focused way to make sure everything runs the way it should.
KAM software can act as a checklist for you and your team, prompting the behaviors we know make a difference to customers, and diagnosing account health throughout the course of any given contract or engagement. KAM software reminds your team to reach out to clients consistently, asking good questions each time—and software can raise a flag if it’s been too long since a key client heard from you. KAM software can help your team work through their Account Plan methodically, ensuring every action item ladders back up to your client’s big picture goals. And KAM software can give you an at-a-glance sense of customer engagement and overall account health.
Think of the right KAM software as another pair of eyes and ears on your book of business. The busier you are (and we know you’re busy), the more it helps to have a constant scan on all your clients, ensuring nobody falls through the cracks.
Many industries are learning lessons from aviation’s checklist culture, including healthcare. In the case of client service, nobody’s life is on the line (thank goodness!), but that doesn’t mean checklist culture can’t be a valuable tool for averting disaster and improving performance.
Improve Visibility with a Single Source of Truth
As Director of Client Services, you oversee client management for every key account. KAM software gives you visibility across every account in your organization, with a single source of truth that collates input from your entire team. This gives you a bird’s eye view of your entire book of business, flagging areas that need your attention or intervention.
When you do need to appear in front of a client—say, because their senior leadership is present at this meeting, so you should be, too, or a client is frustrated and wants to escalate their concern—you’ll have a quick source of relevant info to guide your approach. Of course, your day-to-day account manager will also fill you in, but KAM software contributes to a full and objective understanding of the situation, prior to facing clients in a room.
KAM software also creates a single source of truth for individual accounts. This is especially helpful when the account is run by multiple account directors, and/or cross-functional teams. KAM software makes critical information clearly visible: What have we committed to this client? What’s the next thing we need to be planning for? What are the big picture objectives we’re working for? How are we tracking against those goals? When everyone knows not only what they’re doing, but why they’re doing it, they are more engaged—and the work is better.
Harness the Power of Data
We work with key account managers and client service professionals at every step of the journey. And one thing we find is that even the most experienced client service professionals have room to improve when it comes to metrics and performance data.
The explanation is simple: Data monitoring and visualization capabilities are growing exponentially as technology gets more sophisticated. So even if you’ve spent 20 years in client service and understand the relationship side of things inside and out, you may not be using data and reporting tools to their maximum ability.
The good news is, it’s hard to teach relationship management; it’s easy to track data. That’s where tech excels, and where the right KAM software can support you as you craft meaningful account reviews for your clients. KAM software can pull data from multiple sources, tracking embedded success metrics for each account—and even individual tactics or deliverables. At the same time, KAM software can track client outreach efforts and overall customer engagement. And finally, KAM software can also work as an internal tool, tracking revenue and organic growth for an existing client. So as you’re using your instinct and experience to put together a meaningful presentation, you can lean on your KAM technology for the numbers you need to build your case.
You probably have various tools that can take on pieces of this: Web analytics. Internal spreadsheets. Presentation notes. But the right KAM software puts it all in one place. And, even better, it generates specific, relevant reports for your clients and C-suite alike. So if you’re prepping for a presentation to your boss or your biggest client, a few clicks will get you the data visualization you need to demonstrate progress and value.
Define Clear Expectations for Your Team
As a Client Services Director, you’re not only responsible for your clients—you’re also responsible for your team. To be successful, they need to be empowered to exercise good judgement; but they also need a clear process to work with.
KAM software can help reinforce your process, especially if it’s built around a strong KAM process of its own. Kapta, for example, is built around Our KAM Process (Know, Act, Measure) with tools in each category.
Not only can KAM software reinforce your expectations for your team, and work as a checklist for their day-to-day activities, but it can also give you clear visibility into their actions and results. This is a helpful tool at performance review time, because it gives you insight into both leading and lagging indicators of their success, helping you see the full story behind the numbers. Maybe revenue has plateaued, but your account manager is reaching out meaningfully and often to the client, and revealing potential growth possibilities in the process. Or maybe it’s the opposite: revenue is still growing, but your account manager is neglecting the client—you can flag this in the review before it’s a crisis, and create a Performance Improvement Plan designed to boost their proactive client management.
Though we often work with client service professionals at the beginning of their journey, we love working with experienced Client Service Directors. Mostly because we can skip over so many of the tenants of great client management, which you already know, and get straight to some of the pain points at the director level. We enjoy helping client service directors build even more effective engagement with their clients and their team, and we love introducing them to the potential of the right technology to take their data tracking and reporting to the next level.
To see how Kapta can support Client Service Directors, schedule your personalized demo today.