Establishing, maintaining and renewing client relationships is an imperative part of any customer-facing business. It makes for a cohesive relationship, and works well for all in the long-run. For any company, a strong client-relationship means high retention levels, a good reputation and hopefully new friendships along the way!
We here at Blackmilk Media place great emphasis on ensuring our clients have the best possible service from start to finish. So, I’ve sat down with our resident client expert, Senior Account Manager Polly, to pick her brains about the power to please, persuade and succeed.
In 2015, there was a study which outlined a number of home-truths. According to the Public Relations Consultants Association, 51% of agency respondents thought that personal chemistry was the most important element within the client-agency relationship, but only 19% of clients agreed with this sentiment. This discrepancy is one that needs to be changed, but how?
From the statistics, it is clear to see that more needs to be done with regards to creating and then nurturing a strong relationship between agencies and clients. Polly suggests three key ways of doing this:
As an Account Manager, you know of the amount of time you’ll be spending with clients. Thus, it helps to decipher, understand and immerse yourself into your clients’ interests, both business and personal. Much like a friendship, a client relationship is a two-way street, one that can go the distance if done properly. Just look at Nike and their relationship with Wieden and Kennedy. They say that they’ve been able to work together for so long because of mutual respect, trust, and the desire to drive creativity and innovation. Their similar beliefs and aims have resulted in a number of iconic campaigns, such as their Nothing Beats a Londoner campaign, released at the start of this year.
As well as showing interest in your client, which allows you an insight into their life, it helps to be reciprocal by showcasing your personality and charm! Mixing who you are with the professionalism and expertise that you have is a surefire way of strengthening your relationship with your client. No-one wants to talk to a robot, just as much as no client wants to talk to an Account Manager with nothing to say! Thus, a perfect balance of who you are and your skills makes for a successful campaign and, more importantly, a happy client.
You’d check in with your friends from time to time, wouldn’t you? Well, it’s the same with your client; they need a little love too! As a client, it is reassuring to know that your Account Manager hasn’t forgotten about you, taken your money and run. As an Account Manager, it’s a nice way of showing respect to the business you’re looking after, so it’s worth checking in with your client every week, updating them if necessary and generally working to create and maintain a close relationship, as opposed to a transaction.
There are so many ways in which a client relationship can be created, maintained and strengthened, but for Polly, these are the most important. Fundamentally, a client relationship is about having a deep understanding of not only the clients’ brief, but their wishes and desired outcomes. Tying this with a genuine interest in your client means that a fruitful, respectful and long-lasting relationship is inevitable.