The global pandemic has change all our behaviours, but some things remain, like making sure we continue to maintain and foster our relationships with our clients.
So we asked James Trowman, Partner and General Manager at The Frameworks to give us his insights on how agencies can excel at strengthening their client relationships…
Agencies that succeed, recognise the need to maintain, develop and grow long-term client relationships.
These relationships not only give a business a stable financial platform, but are also an opportunity to demonstrate expertise, and, in turn, help to recruit new clients and new employees
It’s important to build a strong relationship with your client because they have the potential to last your whole career; through promotions and job moves, clients you are close to will always come back to you for your expertise.
But like every relationship, it can take hard work and focus to keep it strong.
Here are a few ways you can help strengthen your relationship with your client:
Understand and enjoy the challenge before you begin the work
In order to do the best work, first you need to fully understand the challenge and your role within it.
This means having a more in-depth understanding of the task, understanding who you are trying to help or influence, and going the extra mile to ensure you’re delivering the best piece of work.
Showing enthusiasm and passion for the work will also build a strong level of trust with your client as your relationship develops.
Invest time in your client relationships
Remember, all clients have their own personal career objectives and agencies are in a strong position to support their career paths in a way that creates joint success.
Successful work helps people get recognised within their business, which supports and aids promotion opportunities and career goals.
Be proud of your clients and their work, as well as the work you do for them.
If you invest in the work and the relationship, when the client moves into other positions or to new businesses, you will be their first point of contact when they require future support.
Share learnings from other client projects
Agencies always want to know about the projects and activities other agencies have carried out, and clients are no different, particularly when it comes to a shared challenge.
Sharing examples of successful pieces of work (as long as they are non-confidential) will impress the client and establish trust in your expertise and your skill set.
Have a strong understanding of your client’s objectives, business direction and reporting structure
Focusing on your client’s business journey is crucial to perform a project both efficiently and effectively.
Always think beyond the task that’s immediately in front of you. It’s important to ask questions and understand the bigger picture in order to have a deeper understanding of your client’s strategy, values, and broader objectives.
To maintain long-standing client relationships, especially with larger companies, it’s also crucial to acknowledge the ever-changing reporting structure.
Being aware of who is responsible for what and who reports to whom, helps guide you on where your own time and efforts needs to be spent in order to develop new relationships and new opportunities.
Continually promote your skills, expertise and new working approaches to better partner with your clients
It’s not just the work you produce that will keep the client relationship strong; how you approach the tasks and challenges are important too.
Invest your time in looking at new collaboration tools, for example. Platforms like Slack have worked well to bring us closer to our clients, especially as so many of us are working away from the places we used to meet.
There’s every chance your clients don’t know services you can offer beyond what you’ve actually done for them.
So, tell them. Share examples from the rest of your portfolio. You might find they’re actively looking for a new partner but simply didn’t know you could help.
Be aware of how your work has performed
Sometimes it can be hard to know how well your work has performed, but don’t be shy to ask.
Toasting success with your clients – and learning together from work that hasn’t done so well – are both bonding experiences as well as key opportunities to learn for the future.
And if a project has done well, celebrate it. Enter awards. Tell other clients.
Promote the client relationship internally at the agency
And tell each other. It’s important that the rest of your agency is aware of your client, the challenges they are facing and the great things you’re doing together.
Keep your colleagues up to date on activity, what’s being delivered, received and how the project and business is performing.
Maintaining a long-standing client relationship is not down to a couple of people; your whole team can play a part.
Overall, it’s important to build and strengthen client relationships; not only to perform your tasks and job well, but for future projects and collaborations.
If you deliver and showcase your wide range of expertise, they will come back to you in the future for more opportunities and projects.
Taking the time and putting the effort into the relationship will be hugely beneficial in the long-term.