There’s no denying the importance of the your customer has. So as an agency that creates brands and the experience of them, our own customer know-how is paramount to any level of success.
Many agencies often miss the importance of client servicing, but to enable a high level of client retention, it must be an integrated aspect of any agency offer.
There are a number of key elements that help create a positive client experience with an agency, here’s a run down of my top five…
1. Relationship, Relationship, Relationship.
This doesn’t mean you need to invite a client to your wedding reception, but it does mean that you should nurture a client relationship. Take the time to make a call on Friday afternoon and wish them a good weekend, give empathy about their excessive workload and make genuine offers of how you can help them. Over time you’ll find common ground and turn the relationship into a lasting one.
2. Making Life Easier.
A good account handler will strive to make their client’s job easier. It’s how we add value, and it’s how a client can start to trust your capabilities over time. Never assume a client thinks you’re great without proving it. At higher client level this might be a great piece of insight, or thought provoking competitor activity. It might just be helping out with pulling information together or reporting on levels of activity. It should be relevant and timely, and ultimately make your client’s life that little bit easier.
3. Managing Expectation.
Valuing a client is critical to their perception of you and your agency. If you commit to a deadline then stick to it. Remember that if you’ve promised a client they will have something, they may well have promised it to someone else; so if you can’t deliver it on time (and it must be a good reason) then manage the expectation and give the client plenty of notice. More often than not, clients will accept the delay if they are presented with a contingency at the same time. It shows that you and your agency have done everything possible to get the job done and this shows commitment to the relationship.
4. Show Genuine Interest.
Marketing professionals can be incredibly time-starved and as a result, they often don’t have time to stop and reflect at achievement. If you know they’ve got a board meeting to present results, then make a note and follow it up by asking how it went. Give genuine enthusiasm when things go well and your client took the time to tell you about it. Similarly, show support for when things don’t go as planned and how you can help to improve it next time.
5. Be The Epitome of Calm.
Agencies are stressful. They are fuelled by last minute demands and last minute changes without any movement on the deadline. Great client servicing is about communicating the challenges of short deadlines but that you will do everything you can to deliver it (making life easier again). Regardless of how busy you are, never show a client you’re stressed. It makes them nervous that you’re incapable of delivery. Mumble all you like in the office, but before you answer the phone, breathe and smile. They won’t even notice, but they will think you’re an agency in control.
In summary, client servicing should be about protecting your agency reputation and your personal one. As the face of the agency, client-servicing teams are the first and last point of contact, integral to the success of the client’s brand experience.
Managing Partner, Truth Design.