Technology plays a major role in nearly every aspect of our lives – from how we work, shop and even date. With the growth of the Internet, social media and dating apps, the majority of our relationships – both romantic and platonic – are now formed online.
As humans, we naturally seek companionship and spend a majority of our lives nurturing our relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and service providers to keep them intact and healthy. It’s important for us to feel connected with others and the world around us, and technology allows us to do this easily. But how exactly is technology shaping our relationships, and in particular the relationship between small businesses and their advisors?
Discovering the secret sauce
With the introduction of the Internet came a revolutionary way to connect with one another. It opened up a world of possibilities to meet new people, form relationships and communicate. Not only did the Internet change the way we interact personally, businesses also started building relationships online. These days, most first contacts are digital via email or social media. Potential customers and clients have already found everything they need to know about you via your company website, social profile or Google, before ever meeting you in person.
But although technology has helped make the world smaller by enabling us to connect with each other easier, creating and maintaining real relationships still takes a bit of work. So what’s the secret to building healthy relationships with your clients in this digital world?
Truth be told, despite the digital invasion, the key ingredients to a healthy relationship haven’t changed all that much – all successful partnerships are built on mutual respect, trust and honesty, as well as good communication.
In technology I trust
Trust is a foundational pillar to any healthy relationship – to trust someone means to rely on them, have confidence in them and to feel safe with them. Trust is earned – you can’t demand it, it’s a choice that each of us make and it needs to be a mutual commitment by both parties in the relationship.
Trust is especially critical between an advisor and their small business client because important, and often confidential, information is frequently shared between the two parties. Your client needs to feel that their information is secure, that they can rely on your advice and they need to have confidence that you have their best interests and the interest of their business in mind at all times.
With technology now being an integral part of our lives and how we do business, keeping sensitive employee and customer data secure is paramount to running a sustainable and trusted modern business. At first, you might feel concerned about a cloud service provider storing your data, but cloud-based solutions eliminate the need to download software onto computers. This allows companies to control who can access which accounts, and when. With individual profiles and unique access keys, cloud-based accounting systems can track users’ activities, providing that extra layer of security.
Your data is also much safer in the cloud than on your computer. Your computer can be stolen or corrupted, but cloud companies spend millions on systems and experts to protect your data. Learn more about Xero’s secure data protection, including achieving ISO 27001 certification – the international standard that specifies the requirements for implementing, maintaining and continually improving an information security management system.
Building a relationship beyond the numbers
In addition to online security, an increasing number of practices are embracing cloud technology and taking advantage of AI to analyse financial data stored in the cloud. They are then able to provide trustworthy advice based on real-time insights to their small business clients to promote growth, improve efficiencies, increase productivity and reduce costs.
“Moving to the cloud allows us to provide higher level advisory services to our clients instead of just giving them the financial statements,” said Kelvin Loh of Corporate Back Office.
By using cloud accounting software such as Xero, you have a clear overview of your client’s real-time financial position. This will lead to informed and meaningful conversations based on accurate information. These conversations foster better client relationships and the possibility of working together as strategic partners to help grow the business. More often than not that can also translate to higher-value advisory services that can set you apart from the competition.
The adoption of AI and machine learning continues to shape how businesses work, communicate, consume information and connect, which will ultimately affect how we create and maintain relationships. At Xero, we believe by creating deeper connections with millions of small businesses and their advisors through our platform, we can all leverage the power of the collective to help the global small business economy to thrive.
Making magic moments digitally
The relationship between advisors and their clients can be incredibly special, especially when built on strong foundations consisting of trust and mutual respect. Once these pillars are established, many clients consider their advisor as one of their most trusted business partners making the relationship more fulfilling, beneficial and rewarding for everyone. Through the use of data-driven technology, the client gets better advice and better service, and the advisor may see client-churn greatly reduced and lifetime value of that client increase.
It’s clear that technology not only plays a pivotal role in first initiating the relationship, but also in building, maintaining and growing it. Intuitively, businesses are attracted to advisors who can help them access and navigate the benefits of the digital revolution.
By embracing accounting technology rather than competing with it, advisors are able to spend more time helping their small business clients make informed decisions that’ll have the greatest impact on their bottom line – so they can plan better for the future. However, it’s just as clear that even in the digital age, the ‘human element’ is still at the very heart of healthy relationships. Technology has not killed the ‘art of romance’, we just have to learn how to harness its power of connectivity and data-driven insights without losing sight of what’s truly important to us as human beings.