“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends…” – Walt Disney
From a client services perspective, the key to client retention is simple: great service. If you can keep your customers happy, you’ll keep your customers. Period.
There are some simple best practices that any agency or business can do to ensure their engagements are successful. So, I’m going to share, from my experience, five tips for success account management.
Yes, it’s important. I know, it’s easier to click and send communication, or even text. But then your detailed emails start to become a dissertation and who wants to read that in their email? It’s far more beneficial (and can often be less formal) to visit the client and chat in person. Don’t wait for things to awry to set up a client visit. Make it a regular occurrence to show up and spend some time to show that you value their business and your relationship. The last thing you want is for them to associate face-to-face meetings with negativity.
If want to build that relationship, spending time with clients is invaluable. Just like any personal friendship in that if it’s neglected for a while, sooner or later the person feeling disconnected will start to look for new friends.
Using the word ‘no’ doesn’t work in the world of client services. Yes, you will come across some outrageous client requests that can seem unmanageable in terms of timing and deliverables, but instead of creating an obstacle that can ultimately impact all of the hard work we have put into growing the relationship and the account, it’s up to us to offer additional options that still meet the client’s needs.
Speak the language
Clients are not always tech-savvy. Although clients are often really interested in knowing the technical detail, this information needs to be refined to a level of understanding that everyone can digest. Speak their language; it’s the key to growing the relationship and establishing the client’s trust and appreciation in your approach to management, the agency and the work you’re doing.
When clients come away from the experience feeling like I have provided them a valuable service that goes beyond just getting the job done, they are more than likely to return in the future. Effective account management is always striving to go the extra mile in terms of service and delivery. Too many times, many agencies out there do what the clients request and no more. As a director of client services, I question the brief and offer value through alternative and enhanced solutions – generally being so much more than just a ‘go-between’ for the client and the team.
Be the client
Within any agency, client services is the client. We’re an extension of their marketing team, we represent them internally and we must always have their best interests at heart.
We get to know the brand, understand the objectives and advise accordingly. The advice may or may not be taken – but it’s better to have spoken up in the first place than to be the one always in agreement in the conference room. Ultimately, clients are paying for our expertise and if we think there’s a better way to drive results, it’s our job to question decisions. It will gain you respect in the long run; and respect strengthens relationships.
Sandra Guadarrama- Baumunk, Director of Client Services at knoodle.