3 Min Read
Agency life is fast paced and requires you to manage an array of situations. As we have learned that client relationships can be very different; operating on different structures, measuring different KPI’s and having different expectations of the level of service they should get from you.
Having been in this industry for a few years dealing with both SME’s and large corporation companies, I have picked up some skills when it comes to developing and maintaining client relationships. Here are my top 5 tips.
When first meeting the client and taking on the campaign, it’s important to over-communicate with them. I try to stay away from emails and always encourage face to face meetings and phone calls. Getting to know the client and getting them to feel comfortable with you is key. You need to tackle any issues they may have from the start and precisely communicate and understand their goals for the campaign. Every client is different and every industry is different. I have always introduced myself as an extension to their marketing team and been their point of call, whether it be consultancy or managing performance.
With some client relationships, you will find they don’t want to communicate much as they don’t have time; in this instance it’s important to identify what you can take ownership on within the campaign rather than contacting the client every two minutes with an update. Here you must develop a system that works best for the client so they are aware of work being completed, but it’s not taking up their time managing it. It all comes down to trust. You gain this by showing them you know their industry and what you need to do. This then comes on to my next point…
It’s imperative you research your clients’ business; everything from company history to competitors. Sometimes your client might have a different competitor in mind to what Google establishes their online competitors to be. You must discuss this in detail with your client and get a feel for their industry. No matter how much research you do online, you will find the most valuable resource always from the client.
No matter how smoothly a campaign goes, there will always be some bumps in the road ahead. Sometimes this can be down to technical issues, change in user behaviour/trends, project not being delivered on time or the dreaded human error. Whichever this may be it doesn’t make a difference; maintaining the client relationship and keeping the client in the loop is the most important thing as we need to keep that trust. Never hide away from problems, if traffic has dropped pick up the phone and address this issue, if conversions are down come up with a strategy to improve. Never hide away from the client or tricky situations; the client will respect you for addressing and dealing with these issues and in turn it will help you develop not only your relationship with the client, but your own personal skills too.
Always tailor your reports to what your clients want to see. Never use a template for every client as they are all different. Outline the performance on their KPIs at the start of the report and then everything else, including work completed and future strategies.
Educate the client as to why this has worked/hasn’t worked; most likely they will already know everything before the report is due as you will be in constant contact with them throughout the month.
This is the trickiest skill to tackle as every client has different budgets and a different view on price. What is reasonable to one client is expensive to another, and the latter will always try and get the most out of the campaign. They will always push for more and more and it will never be enough. You have to remember their job is to drive performance and that in turn can mean driving you personally.
The key to this is to discuss the spend and their expectations of what they want to achieve for this spend. If this isn’t established from the start you will face problems further down the line, I guarantee! Align the spend to the industry including competitors, as a coffee shop wanting to compete with Starbucks on a small spend is never going to happen. It’s important to communicate any reservations you may have on the clients’ expectations and explain it to them constructively. Establish realistic time scales and always revisit the campaign quarterly as sometimes monthly reviews don’t show the full picture.
All these tips lead back to one aspect and it’s communication. It really is the most important tool you have and it must be used effectively.
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