Table of Content
1) What is a client report?
2) What is a client dashboard?
3) The importance of client dashboards & reports
4) Best practices for designing a client dashboard
5) Great client dashboard examples & templates
6) Essential features a client dashboard should have
If you’re an agency that deals with numerous clients or a company that relies on its resellers, you need to manage lots of data and information – all at once. You have the responsibility to handle resources, budgets, and obtain the best possible results for your business to ensure profits and sustainable development. That said, introducing client dashboards and reports in your business operations could be a solution you were looking for.
In this article, we will explain what is a client report and a modern client dashboard, provide reasons why are they important, and illustrate with examples that we will discuss later in the post. We will finish with factors and features to consider when creating such dashboards and reports for clients so you can have a comprehensive overview on everything that is related to this important topic. Let’s get started.
A client report is a term used to describe the process of sending important information to clients on a regular basis, often in the form of a dashboard, automated e-mail, sharable link or embedding options that ensure clients receive up-to-date and reliable data.
A proper client reporting process will be supported by a modern reporting software that reflects all the important information on a single screen, without the need to manually extract or analyse data, regardless of potential business scenario. To see the importance of client reports and dashboards, we will now explain why they are so crucial for small businesses and large enterprises alike.
A client dashboard is a modern management tool used by agencies, reseller and customers to visualise data in an interactive way and automate processes coming from various data sources in order to create dynamic reporting processes and increase productivity.
Each client you manage will require you to respect their brand guidelines, automate their data as much as possible, but at the same time, provide in-depth information about their business in a visual way, customised based on their specific parameters. The provider or agency needs a dashboard software that includes white-label options – that way, you can present your dashboard as your own, and no client will recognise that a third party is involved.
If you are an agency, there is a big chance that you have struggled with endless client data management processes and information presentation that could make or break your business. Each client is different, but they all have one thing in common: they require the most effective usage of their time and resources. A well-maintained client reporting system would do the trick, but the importance lays within these additional points:
Dashboards and reports keep each party accountable: Regular communication with the client is essential in order to improve client relations and teamwork. By setting regular talks or reports about results or potential adjustments, clients will have a deeper understanding of the data at hand. When specific metrics are monitored, both parties will know what kind of goals should be achieved and how it will affect the business in the short or long-term. By communicating the right set of KPIs and ensuring that each stakeholder has a clear vision of what will be reported and when, accountability will set its course that will, ultimately, save precious time. And this is our next crucial point.
They will save numerous working hours and resources: If the communication process is fully automated, the time and resources can be easily saved and allocated into other important elements such as discussions and recommendations about the future. Turning to a client dashboard software for arranging all the business touchpoints under one roof is certainly a good strategy to save countless hours and manpower. We have already mentioned automation, but it deserves a separate point since it can provide a backbone to handle numerous accounts and clients while letting the person that handles the data to focus on what’s presented on a screen and eliminate unnecessary tasks.
They can be white-labelled and embedded: Agencies usually require a seamless solution to present their data to potential and regular clients. Regardless of the use case and requirements, the possibility to white-label and/or embed software solutions seems like a smart move for companies looking to utilise the software as their own. But we will look at these options in more detail later in the article.
Not to exclude the process for client dashboard design, we will present some of the factors that companies should focus on while creating dashboards and reports.
The importance of creating a client reporting dashboard lays not just in general business advantages such as saving time, but knowing how to create one (or several) based on some important factors should also be emphasised. In order to create the best possible dashboard and report for your client and offer maximum value, here are the best practices you should follow:
While it’s essential to standardise the process of reporting and the dashboard creation itself, each client is different, and they will require specific metrics and needs to be met. As an agency or company that deals with numerous business cases on a daily basis, and often in a fast-paced environment, keeping a clear picture of who your audience is and what do you want to present with your data is crucial. Clients will only stay as long as you can provide clear value and their business grows. To make sure you stay on course, custom client dashboards need to have a clear focus on the audience and the message you’re trying to convey.
We often hear that less is more, and this is one of the factors that need special attention. Keeping a clean design that respects your clients’ branding requirements will make the dashboard easy to digest and information clear as it can be. By taking a focus on the most important metrics and keeping a straightforward design, you will achieve much more than implementing too many KPIs into a single dashboard. The design should definitely provide context and a comprehensive data story that answers important business questions.
In order to avoid overloading your dashboard with too many elements, it’s essential to use interactive elements such as drill-downs, click-to-filter or time interval widget, among others. This will make sure that the dashboard doesn’t have too many visualisations but delivers the option to explore the data in more detail. Interactivity and the possibility to utilise numerous filters play an important part in creating a thorough client report. With the help of online data visualisation tools, you have the opportunity to put all the information into interactive charts, automate them and schedule their sharing with important stakeholders. This will prove to be an invaluable opportunity for any business.
Another crucial practice you should follow is focused on the usage of the right chart type. There are numerous charts available, but each has the best scenario to use it and it’s based on a simple premise, whether you want to show the relationship between the data, distribution, composition or comparison. For example, a line chart is perfect for showing a comparison over a specific time frame, but bubble charts can be an issue since they require too much mental effort from users. To make the most out of your efforts, take a moment and think what your charts will represent and what do you want to say with your visualisations.
These factors and benefits can be easily implemented to any use case, and if you want to take a closer look at the best practices, you can check out our article on the best dashboard design principles. Now we will focus on client dashboard examples and templates from various functions and industries you can use for your own dashboard processes.
There are many different ways of potential client reporting areas of application, however, we will focus on our hand-picked real-world examples. After having expounded on the importance and factors in building dashboards and reports to suit your clients, we will aim our attention on 4 client dashboard templates that you can use in your own agency or organisation, no matter the size, to illustrate the value of such dashboards and reporting processes. Let’s start with the marketing agency client dashboard.
As mentioned, agencies have a demanding working environment, often required to juggle between different campaigns, different accounts, and different advertising issues. With an astonishing 30% of total advertising revenue in the world, Google has proven to be one of the standard channels for promotional activities.
Google Ads are an important part of every marketing strategy a company performs. Often enough, Ads (formerly known as AdWords) is the go-to platform for marketers looking to obtain fast results in the SEA (search engine advertising) area and our digital marketing client dashboard example has considerable importance when dealing with clients’ ads campaigns:
By taking a closer look at the data-story we conveyed, this client report example is an ideal solution for agencies that manage Google Ads campaigns. The dashboard itself provides an instant overview of the most important metrics that focus on keyword performance. The upper part of the dashboard has 3 principal areas: general insights on clicks, the performance over a set period of weeks and the top 3 keywords. That way, you can immediately spot where your budget has been mostly spent. The lower part of the dashboard has its main focus on the average CTR and CPC but also delivers instant insights into the number of impressions, average position, cost, and quality score. When looking at these metrics holistically, every campaign manager can derive clear insights on his/her client’s account and recommend further steps for the next stages in Google advertising.
Campaign managers often manage multiple accounts and with the possibility to create a dashboard for digital agencies that will focus on each client and provide real-time data while updates will be done automatically by the software will prove to be an invaluable tool for working in this competitive, yet rewarding, field.
Market research agencies have a demanding task of managing and presenting large volumes of data to clients and various stakeholders. The plethora of information that they have to deal with requires them to allocate most of their resources into compiling comprehensive presentations and results that will enable clients to get a holistic overview of the market. Often enough, this task is tedious and complex, not to mention the processes that happen before.
In many cases, market research companies use traditional means of reporting such as spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations that can prolong not just the research process, but the presentation itself. Static data will not give the opportunity for agencies to discuss the findings in more detail but only make them create another slide, another spreadsheet, another lost meeting. Let’s take a look at how these processes can be simplified and upscaled within minutes.
One of our best client dashboards is focused on a brand analysis study performed for a client that requested to conduct a survey and present the results as clearly as possible. Numerous business questions were asked and PowerPoint would never be able to provide insights so quickly as this dashboard. The power lays within the interactivity. Each metric can be filtered, drilled upon as much as needed, all while staying on a single screen and saving time on creating dozens of slides.
In this concrete case, 1 333 people were asked to answer specific questions about brands that provide insights to the client on how they perform in the public eye. People across the USA answered while the detailed demography can be clearly seen on the left side of the dashboard. The right side delivers details about brand awareness through brand recall and recognition questions, while the bottom is focused on what kind of image the brand reflects and the impressions it leaves in public.
If the client has additional questions about the research, this dashboard can always provide interactive features that will enable the agency to go through the presentation seamlessly and without numerous static slides.
IT projects require steady control and a clear overview of all tasks that need to be done until a certain deadline. If deadlines aren’t being met, the team needs to know in advance to be able to adjust the scope and work strategies and avoid potential bottlenecks. Especially when working in an agency, clients want to know the status of their IT projects on a regular basis, and the project manager needs to deliver accurate and presentable data. By having a client report format such as the dashboard below, every project can stay on track and critical issues identified on time.
This dashboard can ease the agency’s efforts to effectively present the status of the specific project. At the very top, you can spot a quick overview of the stage in which the project is currently undergoing. The planning and design are finished while the development phase is currently on 67%. Next to it, the client can immediately see when the project is expected to launch. The central part answers crucial IT project questions about the budget and overdue tasks. The visual shows the distribution of the total budget, remaining, and over the target. In our example, you can see that the overrun extends more than 8% which can be a topic for additional discussion to take a look at what caused this situation. On the right side, the overdue tasks will immediately tell you what is happening in your team and which tasks are not delivered. Maybe there is a connection between these overdue tasks and the increment of the budget? By talking to your team, you can see what kind of struggles they face and how you can help them.
The final part of the dashboard will show the workload and upcoming deadlines. When you connect the dots, you can spot if some members of the team have too much workload on their hands and support them in finding a better solution for the project. Creating such a dashboard with the help of a client reporting software will undeniably prove to be time-saving and efficient in terms of managing a project from start to finish.
If you’re a company that uses resellers for the distribution of its products, you might want to consider having all your data stored and managed from a single place and giving your resellers also access to their data. We illustrate this case into an example of a software company that uses resellers, but there are many other areas of applications. In essence, you can easily manage all your software resellers and they themselves can access the data no matter the location. This is a good example of white labelling the dashboard and distributing it throughout your operations. It can serve as a template that you can share with every single reseller where they can keep track of their performance. Let’s take a look into this dashboard by explaining some details.
The upper part provides an at-a-glance overview of the total software licenses sold, the total revenue, customer satisfaction and commission earned. These metrics will reveal how successful your resellers have been and where do they need to allocate more resources. The goal is, of course, to have these numbers as high as possible so that the total earnings increase for both parties. The left part depicts the product mix of the sold licenses, whether the package is small, medium, large, extra-large or custom. In this case, we can see that 40% of the total packages sold are medium-sized. On the right side, the team performance can be viewed in more detail to see who has the best results and how they can help other team members to maximise the number of licenses sold, revenue, and commission. Last but not least, the dashboard visualised the revenue curve for each product sold expressed by YTD (year-to-date).
The point is that this client progress report can be viewed by the software company that has a number of resellers and needs a fast and reliable data management solution to improve each reseller’s performance and results.
These examples were created with datapine's dashboard maker suitable for agencies or companies no matter the size. Dashboards depicted here have all interactive features that enable users to dig deeper into the visualised data. We will now put our focus on the most prominent features you need to look for when creating such a dashboard.
Most companies will not find it useful to develop their own reporting solution but will consider using a professional software that is already established on the market. Therefore, to ensure the most effective client dashboard reporting process, you need to look for fundamental features that these solutions must have on offer, and below we will discuss the most important ones.
Embedding a software interface into your own application, intranet or solution where you can use dashboards and reports as your own has proven to be an invaluable resource for agencies and companies that need a dashboard tool for clients but don’t want to invest into developing their own software. This feature has numerous benefits since a company or agency has the full support of the software provider while using their existing business application. It can cut numerous costs related to creating traditional means of data management but also time to make effective business decisions. You can easily present dashboards as your own, and utilise all the features a software has on offer, without the need to invest in expensive IT developments and departments. Embedded BI tools offer seamless insights, real-time data and user-friendly interface that creates an effective analysis process throughout the company. If you need to present data to your client, embedding external software might make sense, especially if you manage multiple accounts and need a fast and reliable solution. Integrating such solutions into your own CRM, ERP, app or any other application you already use might prove as the best possible investment for presenting data to your clients.
Closely connected to embedding, white labelling enables full branding features such as implementing your own logo, colour schemes, styling and complete customisation that correlates with the demeanour of your brand. You will have complete control of the look and design of your dashboards and reports that you can easily distribute to clients. Your reporting across clients can become completely in tune with all your branding requirements, without the need for additional investments. Extending the analytics possibilities and dashboarding into a fully branded application will ensure your processes remain consistent and implemented uniformly into your existing workflow. That way, all your clients’ metrics can have your original visual stamp or even adjust the white labelling feature to each client separately. This is ideal if you’re building a marketing client reporting dashboard and you need consistent visual representation, for example. Another case would be if you need to create a client progress report template such as the one we explained earlier, in our industry examples part of the article. White labelling is an option that will surely improve your client relations and bring positive results.
Multiple clients require multiple reporting features, and you need to have options that will fulfil each potential client request. That’s why having an online reporting tool that offers more than one reporting possibility is crucial to improve client relations and generate additional value. To put this into perspective, you can consider these options:
Standard reporting options: Through standard email reports you can easily send the snapshot of your dashboard to all designated recipients. By automating this report, you don’t need to create a completely new one each time you want to share new information.
Custom reports: Another option is to share a customisable report for each recipient. That might be useful if you’re dealing with multiple accounts and/or groups, and want to include different filters for each recipient.
Sharing live dashboards: A dashboard and all of its features can be shared through a public URL or secure viewer area where you enable rights for viewing only. That way, the recipient can’t edit the dashboard but has the possibility to use the filters you have assigned.
Embedding: As mentioned earlier, embedding will enable you to implement the dashboard into your own application, website or any other solution you might use and completely adjust into your existing workflow.
Quick printing: If a client requires, you can also print all of your dashboards and reports into a PDF or PNG format which can be a neat option for a personal meeting or a quick paper presentation.
Interactivity is an important part when generating a dashboard for client reporting processes. Metrics presented on the screen need to have the possibility to be explored additionally without remaining static at all times. That way, the client will have the opportunity to explore insights on their own and dig deep into the data as much as they need. Some of the interactive features include:
Drill-down: Drill-downs enable the user to view more detailed information about the visualised metric or element on the dashboard. By clicking on the KPI or any other variable, the dashboard will show a window that will take over the screen where you can see how the indicator unfolds with its details. This feature is useful since the dashboard will not be overcrowded with too many elements in the first place, but also enable the user to dig into particularities of each element presented on the dashboard.
Chart zoom: Drilling into the smallest units of time by using a time field is what chart zoom is all about. Multiple layers of knowledge and data are presented on a dashboard, and chart zoom can expand this knowledge into each bit and piece. By selecting the specific time area, you can explore your metric more granularly and narrowly, whether on an hourly basis, daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. This feature has proven to be useful when you want to take a closer look at what happened at a particular moment in time, without the need to manually search for information through another overcrowded spreadsheet.
Widget linking: If you have cases of managing multiple client business cases, then widget linking will save you numerous hours. For example, you want in your marketing client reporting dashboard specific data about each promotional activity, whether social, organic or paid. The widget linking option will enable you to move from a specific marketing overview chart to a related dashboard tab that obtains more details about the specific promotional channel. You can also link to an external resource or website; the choice is yours. These redirecting options will prove to be significant when you need to layer your data to numerous snapshots of your client’s business performance.
These features are a great start to create your dashboards, no matter if you need a detailed client ROI report for agencies or a comprehensive project management interactive overview. To gain a detailed overview of additional dynamic features, check out our article on interactive dashboards where you can find a comprehensive list of the 10 most valuable features you should look for.
We have explained how to write a client report by utilising modern software, took a detailed look into the importance of such dashboards and reports, and provided examples from industries and functions where they can be extremely beneficial. datapine has proven to adjust to the particular needs of each agency or company that needs to manage numerous clients and accounts at the same time. We have saved countless hours and increased productivity for numerous workflows across industries and functions. If you want to test our product and see how much value we can bring, we invite you to try our solution for a 14-day trial – completely free of charge.
Start your free trial and take advantage of modern client dashboard software today!