I recently sat down with a few people on the corporate side, or the other half of the agency-client relationship, to chat about their experiences with the agencies they use now or have used in the past. My goal? To ensure that Pilot PMR continues to be at the top of its game in terms of client experience; to make sure that, even when we’re focused on the details and execution of campaign work for our clients, we don’t lose sight of what our clients need and expect from us in the overarching client-agency relationship.
You read that correctly: “expect” from us in a “relationship.” I believe there are basic must-do’s to maintain any healthy, happy relationship – work and personal. Expectations that shouldn’t have to be written down as part of a contract or scope of requirements. After dozens of interviews, here is the short list of priorities that agency partners believe can keep the love true.
Know Me Like You Know the Back of Your Hand
Think well beyond the first engagement. A strong agency-client relationship shouldn’t be about a single campaign or project but the client’s long-term goals and overall business objectives. How does the work you’re doing fulfil those goals? Earn the trust you need to advise your client on strategic business plans and you’ll find yourself driving campaigns that deliver maximum bang for buck. Clients will recognize this in your execution and want to bring your agency along for those bigger picture projects and campaigns.
What Have You Done for Me Lately?
When you’re pitching an idea to a new client, you think about them day and night, see them everywhere and are constantly thinking about all the creative ways you can help elevate their communications efforts. That shouldn’t end after you nail the pitch, and your thinking should encompass all aspects of the clients’ business. You know your client is fantastic – but so do others. Just because you won their hearts today doesn’t mean someone else won’t try to woo them again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that. So continually share any new strategic ideas or thoughts you have around your clients’ businesses. Even if a small fraction of ideas come to life, the client will know they are being thought about and thought about often.
Date Night: The Importance of Face Time
As we asked you a few weeks ago, Is Conversation Dead? When is the last time you saw your client’s face or heard their voice? They’re busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy. But as with any busy modern day relationship, it is vital to schedule a “date night” here and there. Just the two of you. A time to sit down to chat face-to-face about the project, about the client’s company, or maybe even bat around some thoughts they have about larger communications goals. I find the bigger picture goals and objectives are uncovered in those face-to-face conversations, not emails. During face-to-face meetings, the client has more time, they can explain things in greater detail, and they can emphasize priorities. Key insights can be made based on body language alone.
Don’t keep it all business. Life outside of work influences who we are and what we do at the office, so don’t be afraid to ask “How was your day?” Simple advice, right? Like so much in life, success depends on getting the simple things right. Invest in strong human relationships and, more often than not, the rest will take care of itself.