Once you start working with more than a handful of clients it becomes more difficult to keep track of where they are in your programs.
If you are a coach or other service professional and your core programs are working one-on-one with clients during sessions – whether that’s in-person, telephone, or group sessions – you need to have a system for tracking where your clients are in your program.
It’s important that you know exactly where your clients are in your programs so that you can:
- See where the gaps are.
- Plan for when clients are finishing in your program.
- Know when you have availability coming up so that you can plan to take on new clients.
If you are a new business owner you may only be working with just a few clients and can easily keep track. But as your business grows and you start to take on more clients, unless you have a system in place you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed and not knowing where each client is in your program.
So today I’m going to share with you my top three tips for keeping everything together, so that you can easily access your client information and know exactly where your clients are in your programs.
1. Create a Client Contact Sheet
For some of you, you prefer (or need) to have a physical client file that you can refer to. One of the simplest ways of creating this file is by using a manila* file folder in which you simply drop your paperwork into. This file will contain things like the agreement form from your client, assessment forms, or details of any projects that you’ll be working on.
Creating a Client Contact Sheet which contains your client’s name, address, email, phone, fax and any other contact information that you want to keep a record of is a useful template to have. You simply print it out and fill it in each time you take on new client.
Once you’ve printed out the Client Contact sheet, staple it to the inside left cover of your client folder. This way whenever you need to access your client’s information you just flip open the file and the information is right there.
Depending on the type of client and project I’m working on I find this method very handy – more so than storing the data electronically (which I also do). It’s so much easier to grab the file, flip it open and find the information I need straightaway than it is to open the software, locate the client record and find the information – that’s assuming the PC is turned on and I don’t have to wait for it to boot up!
*If, like me, you find manila file folders a little boring, check out See Jane Work for some fabulous and colorful office organization products.
2. Create Digital Client Folders
As the majority of your communication is probably done via email with documents going back and forth, you’ll also want to create an individual client folder on your PC. It may not be necessary to print out everything your clients send you, but you do need to store the information so that’s it easy for you to find.
A couple of places where you’ll want to create individual clients folders are:
>> In your email program. For each of my clients I have created their own email folder so that any emails that are sent to/from my client goes into their individual email folder. This allows me to keep track of our communications easily, rather than having to sift through hundreds of emails that come into my Inbox each day.
Tip: In Outlook you can also set up rules so that email is automatically filtered into the appropriate client email folder – saving heaps of time!
>> In your main client folder. I’m a big believer in creating main/sub folders for managing my filing system – both for paper-based and PC files. (If you’re been a member of my Your Systems For Success program you know that I tell you step-by-step how to do this.) So if I have a main Clients folder then within the main folder I will create individual client folders. I then use this folder for storing all the documents that I send and receive from my clients. Again having everything in one place makes for quick and easy access.
Tip: In Windows you can change the icon of individual folders so if you’re more of a visual person you can have different icons for different clients.
3. Use Client Tracking Spreadsheets
Once you have your physical and digital individual client files created, you’ll want to think about utilizing a client tracking spreadsheet. If you are a coach or other service professional chances are your core programs are working one-on-one with clients during sessions (phone or in-person) so it makes sense for you have a system for tracking where your clients are in their programs.
In the beginning stages of your business it may be easy for you to keep tabs on just a few clients, but as your business grows and you’re working with more and more clients, you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed if you don’t have some kind of tracking system in place.
If your clients book a certain number of sessions with you, creating a simple spreadsheet that has your client’s names in the left-hand column, and a column along the top for each session will allow you to easily see how many sessions they have already booked and how many sessions they have left. You can also create more advanced client tracking spreadsheets too that automatically fill in data on a summary sheet, and has individual client tabs.
Whatever you decide to do, you need some kind of client tracking in place. Spreadsheets are my favorite tool for doing this as, if done correctly, they’ll provide you with that “big picture” view of your business.
Where are you struggling to keep track of your client information? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to help.
(c) 2016 Tracey Lawton Training & Consulting LLC