The client-agency relationship isn’t all that different from dating. The beginning is all about getting to know one another, learning quirks and figuring out the best ways to communicate. The start of new projects is often met with enthusiasm and a rosy view of the future, also known as the honeymoon phase. Inevitably, this exciting time becomes less glamorous as the partnership evolves. Developing and maintaining a strong relationship with clients takes work. Below are some tips for keeping the spark with your clients:
- Over communicate As professional communicators, you would think this is a given, but it can easily be overlooked. Be as responsive as possible, even when you don’t have all the answers in front of you. Share successes, discuss learning moments and provide regular updates. The more you share, the more clients will reciprocate.
- Keep your wordTrust is the foundation of all successful partnerships. Meeting your deadlines, being accountable for mistakes and delivering results are a must for being realized as a dependable and important part of their team.
- It’s all about the detailsLearn your client’s pet peeves, hobbies and preferences. The smallest things, like acknowledging a birthday or formatting documents in their preferred style, can go a long way.
- Think about things from their perspective Always consider the client’s point of view, particularly when receiving feedback. It’s natural to take things personally at times. Thinking about where your client is coming from and the pressures they may be facing will provide you with more patience and understanding.
Sometimes even the best relationships must come to an end. Some splits are amicable and others are more emotionally-charged. Regardless of the reasons behind the change of heart, this transition should be handled professionally and with grace. The end of a relationship leads to the opportunity for new beginnings with that client and others. Rinck, a Maine-based ad agency, handled the departure of a long term client by creating a music video honoring their years of work together. This bold gesture surely made a positive impression on the departing client, leaving the door open for future collaboration.
Adding personal touches to your client relationships only makes these professional bonds stronger. What are your foolproof tips for improving client relations? Let us know by tweeting at @DEVENEYnola using the #DEVchat hashtag.