You might be great with numbers and enjoy combing through data. But a more likely scenario if you’re in professional services? You started a business without thinking about how complex reporting would be — and how drastically it would change over time.
Knowing which metrics matter for your business, plus how to extricate them from various sources and present them meaningfully, is no small undertaking. Unfortunately, a lot of business intelligence platforms aren’t set up for analyzing client behavior and profitability. They’re often focused on operational or financial metrics instead.
You need an easy way to collect and analyze client-driven metrics.
What if learning about your clients by the numbers could be an ongoing practice that’s built into your client work and largely automated?
Let’s discover how to gather the key metrics that tell a story — and how having these at your fingertips will equip you with the confidence to make impactful decisions that bring you closer to your goals.
No matter which reporting tools you use, you need to feed them with quality input. Doing so requires that you have some basic mechanisms in place.
The five elements above are the bare bones of a practical approach to reporting in a client-based field. But there’s one big caveat: They can’t exist in silos. In an ideal setup, each input feeds into other linked metrics without manual effort.
Achieving accurate input begins with providing the right place for your team to house information. Given the expansive range of business management tools out there, it can be tempting to piece together your own tech stack to check off each box.
Although this may seem like a cost-effective approach, it too often results in disjointed client work processes and time-consuming operations. Before you know it, you have a whole suite of unused and underutilized platforms that are costing you, yet aren’t helping you understand your clients.
➡️ Here’s why selecting a platform that’s customizable for the unique needs of client-based businesses can help.
Your next step on the path to quality reporting about clients is ensuring employees use your chosen platform as designed. Sufficient training can minimize human error and maximize your return on investment. Acumen Data Systems reports that correcting time-tracking errors by implementing automated time entry alone can save businesses over $600,000 per year.
Your client-facing team should also be trained (or guided via trigger automations) on:
With good training, your team will understand how to use software as designed — as an integral part of streamlined workflows that automatically track and compile the metrics you need to see reflected in reports.
Thus, learning about your clients starts with optimizing how your team works as a seamless unit and thoroughly preparing them for software adoption.
Larson Accounting offered so many different types of projects and fielded such a wide range of client issues that their leadership team couldn’t identify any trends among their clients. Read how ticket type differentiation and custom statuses and fields in Accelo helped this firm scale by 50% in three years.
The fruits of this effort come when you have the key information at your fingertips to analyze the people you serve at any time. You’ll be able to identify negative or positive trends with certain clients or your client base as a whole.
While tightening up reporting practices may simply confirm that you’re on track, it could also highlight the need for some major changes, such as increasing billing rates for some services or even cutting your client base to focus on the most profitable clients.
The Story Good Data Tells About Your Clients
You want to know the big numbers about revenue, billable time and profitability, but there are also other interesting patterns to watch for in your client-driven data.
Answering questions like these can help leadership think about your business from a more granular angle. You may discover creative ways to improve these metrics and, thus, client satisfaction.