Strong client relationships can’t be built overnight; it takes time, effort, and dedication to develop them. But they’re also the cornerstone of any great agency.
Happy clients help you to:
Reduce churn - it’s far cheaper and easier to retain existing customers than it is to find new ones.
Improve loyalty - attract new clients organically through positive testimonials.
Reduce negative sentiment - unhappy clients are perfectly willing to share their poor experiences, and bad news travels fast.
In short, the more you put into your relationships, the more you’ll get out of them. But every client has their own unique needs, so one size never fits all. Luckily, there’s a few universal truths when it comes to strong communication. So follow these five steps to give yourself a solid foundation to build upon.
When you first meet with a prospective client, take the time to hear and understand what they’re hoping to achieve. Painting a complete picture of their goals and KPIs will help you offer a curated service that’s fully geared towards their needs.
Communicate openly, honestly, and quickly. Set an agency-wide target response time for all queries, to make sure each of your clients feels respected and valued. Avoid radio silence at all costs - even if you can’t give a detailed response immediately, get in touch to let them know you’re working on it.
Seek to understand
It’s difficult to juggle multiple clients, especially when you’re dealing with conflict. But in stressful situations, it pays to put yourself in their shoes to better understand their point of view. Ask questions about their business, and when you’re sending on reports make sure they have a strong emphasis on metrics they’ve identified as important.
After every email exchange, phone call, or face-to-face meeting, make sure you follow up with a list of actionable points that you’ll be implementing going forward. This helps to set realistic and achievable results within an agreed-upon timeframe, and reduces the risk of crossed wires affecting your relationship. After every project, you should also follow up with a discussion on what went well, and what didn’t. These insights can then be applied to future projects to make sure you’re always delivering what your client wants.
A missed deadline can have a severe impact on an agency / client relationship, so never make a promise you can’t keep. Push back on unrealistic asks, with valid reasons for why it can’t be done and an alternative solution. You always want to be accommodating, but work suffers when you’re in a race against the clock, and it’s important you always retain your client’s trust.
This honesty and openness can sometimes lead to short-term conflict, but the best agencies realize that conflict is forgotten quicker than disappointment. We even have stats to back it up! In a recent poll on Twitter, 39% of Google Partner agencies said that the key to strong customer relationships is to be engaged and follow up, while 32% highlighted delivering on commitments as their main priority.
We all have multiple clients, and it’s easy to forget sometimes that, very often, you’re their only agency. In giving you control of their online advertising, they’re trusting you with the keys to their business growth and development. If they’re confident in your ability to perform, that job gets an awful lot easier.
Take a look at the video below for more advice on building thriving relationships with your clients: