One comment we’ve heard from coaches in the positive psychology community is around the lack of suitable tools for managing clients’ personal details and communications.
It may be feasible to track this information manually when you’re just starting out by using a spreadsheet. However, as your practice grows, the time involved in keeping on top of these administrative tasks will grow too, inevitably dipping into your precious time.
The solution? Customer relationship management software, or CRM for short.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the basics of customer relationship management software and the benefits of these tools for supporting your coaching practice. We’ll also introduce you to our top pick for the best client management app that will save you time and enrich the value your clients gain from your coaching.
Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free. These science-based exercises explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology, including strengths, values, and self-compassion, and will give you the tools to enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students, or employees.
This Article Contains:
Customer Relationship Management Explained
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a broad umbrella term used to describe the processes and technologies businesses use to manage relationships with their present and prospective customers. This phrase is often defined in different ways by practitioners and scholars.
For instance, Nguyen and Waring (2013, p. 826) define CRM as:
“a set of philosophies, strategies, systems and technologies that would effectively and efficiently manage the transactions of customers with companies and the subsequent relationships with those customers.”
Likewise, leading CRM technology provider Creatio (n.d.) defines CRM as:
“all strategies, techniques, tools, and technologies used by enterprises for developing, retaining and acquiring customers.”
Central to modern interest in CRM is the role of digital and online technologies for helping businesses effectively manage relationships with clients. The features of these technologies that facilitate the management of client relationships can include the following:
- Management of customer data
- Sales-related duties (e.g., order processing, forecasting)
- Marketing automation
- Customer service and support
While such CRM technologies emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s, they did not initially take off (Ledingham & Rigby, 2004). Today, effective CRM technologies are critical features of most large businesses’ workflows, and with functionalities in these technologies skyrocketing since the early 2000s, CRM is here to stay.
Why Use Coaching Client Management Software?
You don’t need to be a big business to benefit from CRM as a coach. This remains true whether you’re running a small business or working as a sole practitioner.
Suppose your intent as a coach is to grow your business. In that case, it’s inevitable that the administrative side of your business will eventually cut into the time available for sessions with your clients (Robbins, 2020). You can save yourself hassle down the line by integrating CRM into your practice in its early stages.
Increasingly, lean technologies are meeting the needs of small coaching businesses, and with increased competition in this space, more options are hitting the market at competitive prices.
In short, there’s no better time to consider integrating CRM software into your coaching practice.
Here are just a few reasons you might benefit from investing in CRM software as a coach (Robbins, 2020):
- It enables the storage of client contact information in a centralized virtual location.
- It can facilitate automated communication with clients, including onboarding sequences and other emailing.
- It frees up time spent attempting to track client activities.
- It facilitates quick snapshots of client progress using reporting features and dashboards.
- It aids with scheduling and provides automatic reminders for you and your clients.
- It ensures the safe and secure management of client information using encryption.
5 Additional Benefits of Using CRM Software Tools
As a coach, one of the key benefits of CRM we have not yet mentioned is the ability to automate the preparation and distribution of materials that are supplementary to in-person coaching sessions.
These materials can include forms, activities, and educational content.
For instance, a wellness coach who has just completed a session with a client about effective habit building may ask the client to follow up the session with a take-home reading or reflection exercise.
Another example would be a mental health coach who is just starting out with a new client and looking to gather their personal and medical information quickly and efficiently. CRM can help in both these instances.
No matter what branch of coaching you find yourself in, good CRM software will enable you to automate aspects of the administrative process and manage your clients’ learning and progress between sessions.
To illustrate, here are five examples of ways we’ve seen coaches use CRM to better support clients’ growth and development:
- A client approaches a personal coach with the complaint that they feel they have stagnated in life. To gain clarity on the domains in which the client feels they are stalling, the coach sits down with the client to discuss the results of a digital Wheel of Life activity they completed as homework.
- A career coach designs and sends out a strength-finding test to their client to help them select a field of work in which they will excel. Upon completion of the test, the CRM displays instant feedback for the client using automated charts.
- An executive coach working with a busy CEO sends automated reminders via push notification to ensure that the client remembers to complete outstanding tasks or activities.
- A coach working with a team of product developers administers an idea-generation activity to individuals one-on-one before bringing the team together in one room. That way, everyone provides inputs anonymously.
- A health coach schedules an automatic goal-tracking worksheet to be sent to their client’s smartphone each evening before bed to help track their progress toward a series of wellness goals.
While some of these features may sound advanced, all are well within reach of the everyday coach thanks to advancements in CRM technologies.
What Is the Best Client Management App for Coaches?
Ultimately, the best CRM app for you will depend on the needs of your clients and your business. It is important to ask some questions about your needs before making your selection (adapted from Efti, n.d.):
- What is your number-one goal?
Are you hoping to reduce time spent following up with your clients? Or are you hoping to increase client engagement with take-home reading and exercises?
- What features are must-haves?
While some coaches may have the capacity to create their own educational coaching materials, others may require a platform with pre-prepared coaching templates.
- How will your clients be onboarded with the CRM?
Will you prepare a short video explainer sent out via email? Or will you walk through the platform with clients in person?
- What tools does the CRM need to integrate with?
Digital integration with other platforms, such as email, chat, social media, and blogging platforms, may be essential depending on the other aspects of your coaching business.
- What metrics need to be tracked via the CRM?
Which areas of your business require precise data to enable decision making (rather than data that is “good enough”)? Ensure that your chosen CRM will capture and organize this information in a way that meets your needs.
- Will my business outgrow this CRM at any point?
Look to the future and anticipate what features your business might need from a CRM in a few years’ time. Is it worth investing in a platform with more advanced features now if it will spare you from migrating to a different platform down the line?
- What type/level of customer support do I need?
Different CRM providers will provide different levels of customer support, ranging from near-instant chat or voice support to situations where you may be waiting three to five business days for a response. Consider your needs in this situation, as well as the likely impact on workflows with your clients.
In a series of earlier posts, we explored a range of online coaching tools and coaching apps that include client-management features to help you grow your practice. Following an examination of these existing options, the founders of PositivePsychology.com sought to fill in the gaps and designed the CRM app Quenza, which is now rapidly growing in popularity.
Quenza was designed in collaboration with members of the positive psychology community, many of whom expressed a need for a smarter way to streamline the administration and ongoing management associated with running a coaching business.
Practitioners also expressed a need for a simpler way to administer activities and educational materials to clients, as well as better reporting to track engagement with these materials in a way that is compliant with global digital security standards.
Since its launch, the app has received acclaim for supporting “full-fledged client engagement” in a way that helps you maintain your clients’ momentum toward their goals between coaching sessions.
Naturally, it’s our #1 choice, so we’re excited to share some of its features with you throughout the rest of this article.
How to Use the Quenza App and Software
Getting started with Quenza is quick and easy. To start, register for your 30-day trial for just $1.
Once you’ve signed up, take a look around the Dashboard, which you can access via the menu bar on the left of the screen. From here, you can easily track a range of information, including:
- Notifications about clients’ completed or overdue activities
- New activities in the Expansion Library
- The status of any activities or pathways assigned to your clients
- Latest blog posts
- Discussions in the community forum
A quick way to familiarize yourself with the platform and begin populating your Dashboard will be to add your first client to your account.
One tip is to try registering your own personal email in order to test out and view activities from the client’s perspective. To do this, simply click the Clients icon in the menu bar and hit the ‘+’ button in the top right corner.
Once you’ve registered your first client, you can then take advantage of the platform’s Chat feature (the third menu option), which works like any other instant messaging platform and allows you to communicate securely with your clients.
Note: Although your clients do have the option of using Quenza in their device’s browser, encouraging them to download the Quenza app will ensure they receive push notifications whenever you send them Chat messages.
The fourth menu option is the Activities menu, which is at the heart of the Quenza platform. This is where you will spend the most time in the beginning, designing digital activities for your clients. You can get started here by simply clicking the ‘+’ icon in the top right corner of this screen, and from here, you will be taken to the Activity Builder.
The Activity Builder is a simple and intuitive tool you can use to prepare assessments, micro-learnings, and other psychoeducational content for your clients using simple drag-and-drop functions.
The fifth menu option you will spend time on while using Quenza is Pathways. Here, you can organize activities into logical sequences you can send out to clients according to pre-programmed schedules, much like an email sequence. These pathways can be designed to facilitate ongoing assessment, step-by-step lessons, and much more.
Once again, you can learn more about the Pathways feature of Quenza in our short explainer video.
The last menu we will explore here is the Expansion Library. From here, you can select from a growing catalog of pre-prepared activities and pathways in Quenza. When you find an activity or pathway you like, you can easily add it to your activities or pathways by opening it and clicking the ‘+’ icon in the top right corner.
The Expansion Library is always growing, with the most requested activities and pathways being added all the time, so be sure to keep checking back for new materials. Any activity or pathway you select is fully customizable, meaning you can change it to suit your clients’ needs.
One last thing that we believe sets Quenza apart from the other options on the market is the creators’ commitment to ongoing engagement with the positive psychology community. New features are being added all the time based on feedback from this community; the platform is expected to become a ‘one-stop shop’ to suit any coaching practice in due course.
You can learn more about the upcoming plans for the platform by viewing the Quenza roadmap.
A Take-Home Message
When choosing the right CRM for your coaching practice, it’s important to take stock of your business’s needs now and in the future. Any decision you make about CRM will have a direct influence on your clients’ experience and engagement, so choosing an app or platform is not a decision to be taken lightly.
In short, we encourage you to experiment with different options and do your research.
We hope this article has been a useful introduction to the topic of CRM and inspired you to think more about the technological side of your coaching business.
Thinking about investing in a CRM app or software? What are some must-have features you’ll be looking for in a platform? Let us know in the comments – we’d love to hear from you.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free.
- Creatio. (n.d.). What is a CRM? Retrieved from https://www.creatio.com/page/what-is-crm
- Efti, S. (n.d.). 7 Critical questions you must ask before choosing a CRM. Close. Retrieved from https://blog.close.com/choosing-crm/
- Ledingham, D., & Rigby, D. K. (2004, November). CRM done right. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2004/11/crm-done-right
- Nguyen, T. H., & Waring, T. S. (2013). The adoption of customer relationship management (CRM) technology in SMEs: An empirical study. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 20(4), 824–848.
- Robbins, J. (2020, March 3). Best CRM tools for coaches. Performance Coach University. Retrieved from https://www.performancecoachuniversity.com/the-best-crm-tools-for-coaches/