Relationship management between agencies and clients
I have been working in the "digital agency industry" for over a decade and I've seen some agencies grow rapidly by growing their client base. In contrast, others have fallen into oblivion due to poor client relationships.
The key question is: how do we build successful client/agency relationships? If you want to retain your client, you must understand what they really want from their agency. This helps you win their trust and build a successful relationship which will last for years.
Trust is the foundation of success
Trust is the foundation of success. It's a two-way street and it takes time to build. You earn trust by being honest, reliable, competent and transparent. Trust is not given; it's a choice that you make on a daily basis.
Trust between an agency and its clients can be built over time if there's mutual respect and understanding of each other's roles in the relationship.
How do you gain your clients' trust?
Client trust is a cornerstone of any client/agency relationship. If clients don’t trust you, they might not be willing to invest in your services or listen to your advice, which could ultimately lead to a poor return on investment.
Clients need to know that they can trust you because they don’t want their valuable business information falling into the wrong hands. They need transparency and honesty from the agency so that they feel confident in working together.
Building trust takes time; it doesn’t have to happen overnight! Trustworthiness is about more than just showing up for work on time every day; it's about demonstrating that you care about the client's needs and goals by being available when needed and providing clear explanations regarding how you plan on helping them achieve their goals—and then delivering results!
How do you keep the client/agency relationships in tune?
Here are a few tips to help you keep your client/agency relationships on track:
- Be open to feedback. If your client is unhappy with something, listen closely and ask questions. Don't get defensive or make excuses. Instead, look at the issue objectively and use it as an opportunity to improve yourself as well as your service offerings.
- Be consistent in communication, follow-through, expectations setting—and everything else! Clients want to know that they can count on you no matter what may come up (or not). Consistency will put them at ease in knowing that their business is being handled the way they expect it should be handled—with care and precision!
- Be transparent about any changes or updates in policy or procedure that may affect business operations such as billing practices and payment terms; also let them know if there are times when certain services might be unavailable for various reasons (e.g. national holidays and vacations). They'll appreciate knowing what factors could affect their decision making process when planning ahead for future projects together!
Your values must be aligned
We are all busy—and often, it’s hard to find time for a deep, honest conversation about values. But when the two of you do have that conversation, you will be surprised by how much it helps your relationship. Values are the foundation of any long-term client/agency partnership.
Values help build trust and understanding in your working relationship with your clients because they tell them what you stand for as a company. They also help them understand why they should choose you over other vendors who might be able to do similar work. And most importantly: values are what will make your company unique in their eyes!
Communication is key
You will want to ensure that your client is always able to reach you. This may mean creating a dedicated email address for them, and making sure all of your communication is happening through it. If this isn't possible, then make sure that you're available via phone or text/chat. It's also worth asking them how they prefer to communicate with you in order to get an idea of what they need from the relationship management process so that you can meet those needs effectively:
- Who is their point of contact? Who needs to be in CC? Who is responsible for resolving escalations?
- Do they prefer email? Or would they rather have a dedicated phone number?
- Are there times when they don't want notifications from their project manager? Or do they want daily updates on progress?
Bonus: Client retention is easier than client acquisition
You may feel like you only want to focus on growing your business by bringing new clients on board—but don't forget about the ones who already love working with you! Your current clients are some of the most important people in the world because they already know how awesome it is when they do business with you.
Client acquisition is expensive, time-consuming and risky. You can spend a lot of money on sales and marketing—but it doesn't always work. And what happens if your new client doesn't work out? You've lost your investment in time and/or money. If you're lucky enough to acquire a great client, then congratulations!
Focus more of your attention on retention than acquisition because it's less risky and much more rewarding both professionally and emotionally (not to mention financially).
In conclusion, it’s important to remember that the client is your partner. You want them to feel like they are in good hands and that you will do what it takes to stay on top of things. The relationship between a client and an agency can be a long one if both parties are willing to put in the effort.