Whether you choose to believe it or not, the relationships you have with your clients say more about your company than almost anything else. Forming these relationships seems simple on the surface, but they take time, effort and patience from both sides. The relationships you build are an essential component to not only your success, but the success of your client.
Keep the following tips in mind and strengthen the most important aspect of your business: the relationships you have with your client base:
This one seems like it would be obvious, but you would be surprised at the number of clients that we’ve had come to us whose previous agency just ‘didn’t get them’. Before your first meeting with a new client, get to know their brand and the role they play in their industry. That way when you do meet you can understand what their goals and priorities are and what your role as an agency will be in helping to achieve them.
2. Don’t Treat All Clients the Same, but Treat Them Equally
Bottom line, provide all clients with your best service, regardless of whether they are a Fortune 500 company or a small, local business. But, figure out what works for each one individually, just as you would when figuring out how to best manage each of your employees. At TJA we use email A LOT, but that doesn’t mean it works for all of our clients. Some love it, some are barely in front of their computers and would much rather have us give them a call or shoot them a text, and others prefer in-person meetings. As long as you are keeping your clients informed about decisions and up to date about their projects, it doesn’t really matter how you do it as long as it gets done in a way that makes your client comfortable.
3. Be Honest and Communicate
This is the foundation for any and every successful relationship. It isn’t going to do anyone any good if you and your client can’t be honest with each other. If you have questions, ask them. Don’t assume you know what your client means when you don’t have any context to what they’re talking about. If you have concerns, express them. Your clients look to you as the expert. That is why they hired you. If you cannot be honest with them about concerns you may have, the relationship has already been set-up to fail.
4. Clearly Plan Out Projects and Scope of Work
We all want our clients to succeed; their success is our success. But, this is business and business is not free. When developing project plans, be sure to make it very clear what the scope of work is. Once you have established what work will by done and by whom, you can work out a detailed timeline and an agreed upon deadline. Once that deadline is set, stick to it. When you say you’re going to do something and have it completed by a certain time, there should be no question in your client’s mind that this might not be true.
5. Treat Your Clients as Part of the Team
Clients aren’t just a revenue stream. They’re people; very important people actually. They have likes and dislikes, preferences on how to communicate, etc. The more you can identify with your clients and their needs, the stronger your relationship will be. Your clients are just as much a part of your team as your CEO, and you need to treat them as such. You never know who your clients may know or to whom they will refer you, and happy clients are more likely to make referrals.
Julie Schneider | Sr. Project Manager
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