Is your client’s information all over the place? Do you feel like you’re constantly about to blow a deadline because you simply don’t know where anything is? You know your client told you an important piece of information but you have no idea where you put it. Could it be in an email? Written down somewhere on an actual piece of paper? On an Excel sheet?
Keeping track of all the details and information you receive as a business can be tough. After all, there are so many communication channels out there. Odds are you’re writing emails, making phone calls, having in-person meetings, and more. So, what is the solution to all of this? Get organized – and that starts with an efficient client information form.
Creating an efficient client intake form is vital to starting your relationship with your clients off on the right foot – and keeping it there. A client contact form can be as simple or as advanced as you like – however, you don’t want your clients to feel like they’re required to write a novel. Let’s take a look at what it takes to create an efficient client information sheet.
How Companies Become Inefficient
Inefficiency when running a business is a big problem – so much so, that companies lose an estimated 20 to 30 % of their revenue as a result every year. When researching why this is, it largely comes down to a lack of properly tracking the client’s information due to the following reasons:
- Managing information across diverse systems
Running a business these days is not as simple as having all of a client’s information in a written file – more often than not, we see emails, faxes, Word documents, Excel sheets, unique data storage systems and handwritten/jotted down notes all making up a client’s profile. It may seem like the more ways to receive information, the better, but this is a huge reason why companies become inefficient. They are unable to keep an organized system to manage all of this paperwork and information and utilize it all in one place. This results in information getting lost and plenty of wasted time trying to obtain it again.
- Poor systems integration
As companies grow and expand, more and more independent systems and solutions are put in place. The problem is these independent systems do not communicate with each other. Therefore, your client information is scattered in multiple places with your employees scrambling to remember what information is stored where.
- Unwillingness to try things a different way
If a company has operated a certain way for a long time, they can be unwilling to make changes or to simply try things a different way, regardless of whether or not the current system is inefficient. A company may not be able to see that there is another, better way and accept that this is simply “how it is”.
How to Create a Client Information Sheet
Implementing a client information sheet ensures you have all of the crucial information you need about your clients in one place. It also allows you to minimize the margin for error – the client fills out one form that details everything you need to get your project started.
So, how do you create an efficient client information sheet? What information should be included? It’s important to start with the basics, including:
- Business name
- Contact information (phone number, fax, email, point of contact)
- Website location and social media handles
After you’ve nailed down the basic information, go into more detail. Have a dedicated space in regards to what services your client is looking for and the budget they are willing to spend. Budget can be a tricky topic, but having this in writing upfront can be incredibly beneficial. Some examples of more detailed information that can be collected are:
- The services the client is looking for
- Timeline expectations
- The budget they are willing to spend. This could be asked for subtly. For example, if the service in question is for a digital marketing service, you could ask what the company’s monthly budget is for marketing.
- The internal resources the client already has, if any, to help in the completion of this project
After you have these key pieces of information, it’s time to get more details about their business, such as:
- Asking the client to define their industry
- Naming any known competitors
- Proving the company mission statement
- Explaining the company goals
- Deciding on goals in regards to the services you’re providing
Asking your clients to fill out an information form is extremely useful, even if they are only prospective clients. Having all of this useful information in one place is invaluable when it comes to moving forward with a client – no more scrambling around, trying to locate contact details in the multiple emails, a scribbled down note from phone calls, or sorting through Word documents or Excel sheets. Having client information sheets as both a physical and digital file is not only useful when it comes to beginning a project, but also to refer to throughout the process. It is also a way for you, as a service provider, to save your own butt when it comes to preventing scope creep, too many rounds of revision, and having to spend time chasing down information from clients. And a bonus – being prepared and efficient with a client information form will help save you a ton of time and money in the long run.