Getting your clients’ take on the agency/client relationship — and putting it right
We wrapped up the last post with some suggestions for getting a clients’-eye view of how well your agency communicates with them.
It’s knowledge you need to have, because when clients don’t feel you’re communicating well with them, they have a nasty habit of complaining to your competitors — after they’ve jumped ship.
While there’s no substitute for asking your clients how they judge their relationship with your agency, we have found that there are four common sticking points. Be sure to look out for them in your own agency’s way of working.
Leaving clients out of the loop
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in what you do for your clients that you forget to give them the same insight into the process. You may need 10 days for creative development, but if your client hears nothing during that time, they may begin worrying about what you’re really up to. Solve their worries by finding out how often they want to be updated, and then make sure they know exactly what’s happening.
Clients not understanding how your work
This can be a major culture shift for some marketing agencies — but the more transparent you can be with clients the better. Give them access to as many files and as much information you can, allowing them to understand how you work and giving them the opportunity to become more engaged in the process.
These are often rife when your agency and your client both have many points of contact for the same project. Details can get missed, jobs can get left undone and small mistakes can quickly escalate into major problems. Overcome this by streamlining the way you communicate with each other, managing tasks more clearly, and finding ways of keeping both agency and client staff updated.
Clients hate nothing more than a missed deadline, but sometimes the unavoidable happens. If your client has had access to project progress and milestones throughout, missed deadlines won’t be a surprise — in all probability, you’ll agree them mutually before they become a problem.
More benefits of better communications
All of these sticking points can be solved by better communications, along with more streamlined processes and project management.
But it’s only one side of the coin. As you solve the problems in your relationships with clients, you’ll also discover ways of bringing new ideas, services and benefits to the table.
We’ll be looking at these in the next post in the series, giving you tips on how to widen your creative offering, develop a closer relationship with your clients’ in-house marketing teams, create additional projects in cahoots with your clients — as well as making your teams more efficient and your billing cycle faster.
Interested? Check back in a few days or take a look at our guide on How to Grow Your Marketing Agency – it’s packed with advice on improving your client relationships.
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