Things used to be a lot simpler for professional services firms. Quality projects delivered on time and on budget equaled happy clients. But things have changed. Budgets are tighter, competition has increased and gone global, organizations have built up their internal capabilities, and many offerings that were once differentiators have become commodified.

So what can today’s professional services business do to stand out and earn business? Simply put, offering a top-notch experience is what sets you apart now. But this is easier said than done. To create a seamless client experience, you need every part of your org to be in alignment. This takes large investments of time and resources. One of the most impactful and affordable investments a professional services firm can make in managing clients relationships is in collaborative work management (CWM) software. 

5 ways CWM software can help you build a better client experience

1. It brings your team into alignment.

To deliver an outstanding client experience, everyone in the org needs to understand exactly how their work contributes to the whole. Alignment is critical for delivering a consistent client experience. CWM software can give your organization the visibility and accountability to break down silos and align all your teams. 

It’s critical that the entire team can see how projects are progressing and how the organization is moving towards goals. Shared dashboards are an easy way to keep people up to date on projects and in alignment on next steps.

Instead of spending hours gathering data and crunching numbers, take advantage of some CWM solutions, which offer automated reports to help teams quickly visualize all work statuses and progress in an easy-to-digest format. This gives everyone in the org the visibility and insight necessary to make more unified and impactful decisions.

2. It helps maintain security while increasing transparency and collaboration.

Any business or personal relationship is built on trust. Clients depend on professional services teams to handle sensitive data responsibly and will often withhold necessary information due to security concerns. In our Professional Services Survey Report, 60% of leaders agreed that data security concerns keep their teams from being flexible and building better relationships with customers.

To stay competitive, your team must develop a security strategy that protects client data. CWM software eliminates or limits the opportunity for risk in multiple ways. Because communication and the transfer of assets are done within the tool, there’s little risk of spoofed emails, suspicious attachments, or compressed files from unknown sources. 

Collaborative work management platforms with permission capabilities can protect a client’s intellectual property within a project. Controlled access roles and advanced folder permissions can ensure only designated members of the team have access to multiple clients’ data.

3. It enables teams to design the customer journey.

Outstanding customer experiences don’t just happen — they’re designed from start to finish. Start building a seamless experience by mapping out every touchpoint and interaction and then figure out ways to improve each step. Teams should think about each question, need, and thought their clients will have at each point and build in ways that delight their clients and add value. 

The best CWM tools allow you to create custom workflows that correspond to the client journey and ensure the team is delivering a consistent end-to-end experience. When a process is mapped out and everyone on the team understands each component and how they fit together, you can begin to identify opportunities for improvement. Transforming this process into a custom workflow ensures no step is missed and the experience remains consistent. It also helps to create unique folders or spaces within the CWM that allow teams to better visualize how different tasks fit together and contribute to the client experience.

CWM software can tie your tools together and automate large parts of your processes for greater consistency. By leveraging integrations and offloading “busywork,” your team is free to focus on the experience as a whole.

4. It improves your ability to capture and respond to feedback.

Client feedback is critical to your business, but it’s incredibly hard to collect effectively and even harder to make actionable. Feedback about the client experience will help your team identify and prioritize areas that need improvement and will make it easier to retain clients in the future.

CWM software can help you collect feedback, share it, and turn it into actionable tasks. Proofing and approval tools can help you centralize feedback and shorten feedback loops. Visually marking up assets keeps the feedback in context and unambiguous, while assigning reviewers tasks directly streamlines handoffs and creates an approval trail.

Keeping feedback and learnings directly tied to the work within a CWM ensures valuable insights aren’t lost and makes it easy to transform that feedback into actionable tasks.

5. It reduces wasted time and resources.

When used correctly, CWM software can help teams automate and offload large portions of their work, which frees up time and resources. Automation can be used to reduce or eliminate the manual entry of data and move data between systems. This allows teams to focus more on building and maintaining relationships with clients, which is some of the most impactful work professional services teams can be doing today.

Using the integrations in CWM tools to tie together as many of your existing tools as possible increases clarity while still allowing people to use the apps they like best. A flexible API can help your organization customize tools for very specific uses, unlocking incredible value. 

The best investment your firm can make

An investment in improving client experience has guaranteed returns. While it’s true professional services firms face an uphill battle trying to differentiate themselves, the client experience is one of the most effective ways to do this and is completely under your control.

The biggest challenge is getting your team and customers into alignment. Customizable and configurable CWM tools can help you achieve this in a variety of ways. With increased visibility, accountability, and clarity, your team will be able to execute with a level of consistency that will set you apart from the competition and dazzle your clients. Thousands of the world’s top professional services firms have all chosen to build their business on Wrike. Ready to see how it can help your organization? Start a free trial today.