"Building strong client relationships is an integral strategy to improve your
agency's bottom line"
No matter how busy you get, however, you can't forget the most important aspect of your business -- your clients. Their needs must be met. The key is to create an experience that adds value to your clients. It’s about building real relationships.
Here are five ways to improve the client experience:
1. Create a client experience strategy.
Most companies are driven by strategy. They produce branding plans and execute acquisition policies. But what about a client experience strategy? Documenting your client's journey is critical to understanding how to serve their needs.
2. Identify client experience gaps.
According to NewVoiceMedia, an estimated $41 billion is lost by American
companies each year due to poor customer service. What’s missing from your
client experience? Similar to a retail business, agencies should identify
customer touchpoints. Touchpoints are how your brand engages with the client.
That may include an onboarding email or a phone call from the account manager.
The report also found three pain points destroying the relationship:
1. Agencies do not understand their clients' business.
2. Agencies do not understand their clients' customers.
3. Agencies do not understand technology and innovation.
Work with your team to identify ways to enhance communication and build rapport with your client. You also may need to educate your team about the client’s industry. Your agency can’t solve your client’s problems with a broken relationship. Be proactive and learn how to identify gaps to improve your team’s performance.
3. Push beyond business goals.
Clients hire you to solve their problems. However, providing solutions is only
one piece of the puzzle. Any hard-working agency can do that. We live in a
relationship-driven economy. Clients expect you to earn their loyalty. To do so,
push beyond the primary business goals. Think of other ways you can satisfy your
clients. How can you help them reach secondary objectives?
Maybe introduce your client to a valuable contact. Provide a recommendation for the CEO to speak at a high-profile event. Or even mention your client in a press release. Consider non-business rewards. Send a gift during the holiday season. And send a thank you note for their continued support.
4. Conduct an external audit.
Research shows that a typical business hears from about 4 percent of
dissatisfied customers. Most agencies will report that their clients are happy.
But it’s likely that the information is just based on the account manager’s
opinion. No one wants to admit that clients are dissatisfied.
The usual, dysfunctional process goes something like this -- assess if the client’s goals are met, and ask the client if they are satisfied. If you want a real assessment of client satisfaction, conduct an external audit. Hire an outside firm or consultant to speak directly to your clients and to observe client interactions.
5. Focus on thought leadership.
blogs.forrester.com/laura_ramos/15-06-26-developing_results_driven_thought_leadership_marketing detailed that “87 percent of marketers struggle to produce engaging content.” They don’t have a process for managing thought leadership marketing initiatives. Agencies must be forward-thinkers for their clients. Your team should be spotting trends and developing innovative opportunities.