Want to retain your high-value clients? Building a strong client-agency relationship is the key to winning client loyalty and improving project results.
A positive client-agency relationship is built on a foundation of mutual trust, respect, integrity, and capability.
There’s no fast track to building a strong, long-lasting relationship with your clients—all great relationships take time to flourish. In fact, only 56% of clients are satisfied that they have an honest and transparent relationship with their agencies. However, there are plenty of ways to nurture a positive relationship to fruition and win your client’s long-term loyalty.
Loyal clients aren’t just nice to have. They’re essential to the success of your agency, boosting revenue with regular opportunities. They also advocate for your business and leave positive online reviews. These reviews can help you gain future clients for your agency and build the credibility of your agency.
Investing time and effort into your client relationships prevents you from suffering from high churn, negative reviews, and a damaged reputation. Not only that, but it improves the value of your communications and drives better problem-solving, teamwork, and project results.
Are you ready to build successful client-agency relationships? Here are some strategies to help you achieve your goals.
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Image of a meeting
Often, the breakdown of a client-agency relationship is exacerbated by poorly-established communication boundaries. Being clear about how and when customers can contact you demonstrates the professionalism and reliability that drives positive relationships.
Together with your client, establish one or two channels that you will use for communications. Whether you perform customer service through social media, email, Slack, or telephone, make sure your clients have the relevant details.
As shown below, responsiveness is a top priority for 54% of clients, second only to creativity. So you also want to establish your hours of availability, estimated response times, and any out-of-hours contact details in the event of an emergency.
Image sourced from ascend2.com
Agency attributes desired by clients graph
Aim to contact your clients regularly without overwhelming their inboxes with messages. Structuring your communications ensures you provide value to your clients in every conversation.
Honesty and trust are at the core of every strong relationship, whether personal or professional. While it can be nerve-wracking to communicate bad news, being transparent with your clients about unrealistic expectations, project delays, or undesirable results is the key to earning your client's respect.
Transparency also demonstrates your credibility. Nobody wants to hire a “yes-man” who blindly agrees with every decision. If your client’s requests or opinions don’t serve their best interests, speak up and communicate your honest point of view. Encouraging them to do the same will foster a culture that motivates mutual transparency, feedback, and respect.
When clients are confident of your integrity, they’ll be more likely to trust and value your opinions.
Meeting your clients’ demands is going to be a struggle if you don’t have the right technology. And we’re not just talking about the technology you need to physically deliver your service (such as your SEO and social media analytics tools). Your tech stack should include everything from a CRM system to HR and project management software.
A CRM system should be at the center of your relationship management. A treasure chest of customer information, they store everything from your client’s demographic information to their preferences and purchasing history. So, not only are they a vital tool for nurturing leads, but they play a key role in your client engagement and retention strategies.
CRMs are a treasure chest of customer information. They store everything from your client’s preferences to their purchasing history. What’s more is that every employee in your team has access to this data, meaning that clients can receive personalized, tailored service at every touchpoint.
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Woman working on a computer
It’s also important to remember that fostering positive client-agency relationships begins at a company level. If you want employees to deliver the best service to your clients, you need to create an empowering work environment that embraces a culture of support.
Using HR software can help you do this. By automating HR processes, you relieve HR staff of tedious admin duties and enable them to concentrate on the more meaningful, one-on-one tasks that truly onboard, support employees, and develop their skill set. As a result, employees will feel more capable of meeting clients’ needs and delivering exceptional customer service.
Before you’ve even struck your first deal, you should be investing time and effort into your client relationships. As well as following them across their social media platforms and performing in-depth research into their business, ask them questions to get to know them better, such as what their values, motivations, and pain points are.
Don’t be afraid to loosen up on the formalities. Throw in some humor and express your personality. Be authentic and approachable, and check in with them regularly. The infographic below shows that for 92% of clients, chemistry is the most important quality they look for in an agency. So maybe prioritize being likable over bragging about your awards!
Image sourced from setup.us
Infographic about qualities brands want from agencies
Be sure to continue investing in client relationships throughout your client’s journey. This will help you foster positive and authentic long-term relationships.
There’s nothing worse than agreeing to a project only to discover later that the agreed budget doesn’t cover it. Sure, you can still try your best, but it’s at the risk of producing a low-quality deliverable and damaging your relationship with your client.
For this reason, it’s vital to establish a realistic budget (which you can do with the help of accounting software) and try to stick to it where possible. This also means setting boundaries with your clients and communicating with them if their budget is too low to achieve the desired result.
Professional development opportunities equip you and your employees with the skills your agency needs to meet client expectations. Providing training programs or funding online courses can teach employees how to use up-and-coming technologies, improve their social media marketing skills, or communicate more effectively in video meetings.
By increasing the capabilities of your talent, you can strive to deliver better results and thus drive the formation of great client-agency relationships.
Failing to complete deliverables on time can break down a client-agency relationship, even if the deliverables are to a high standard. The negative impact that delays have on a client can outweigh the work that's eventually provided, causing clients to look for a more reliable agency.
Respecting your client’s timelines and deadlines is a dependable way to build a prosperous relationship. You should always aim to turn over deliverables on or before the agreed date. However, this level of reliability can be difficult to achieve without high-quality time-management software.
Time management software is the number one tool for ensuring deadlines are met as painlessly as possible. With 360-degree visibility into the status of every project, managers can delegate tasks in alignment with project deadlines, employee skills, and available resources. Employees can accurately prioritize tasks, juggle multiple projects, and meet realistic deadlines in alignment with benchmarks.
Screenshot from Sage
Time management screenshot
Of course, it’s not always going to be smooth sailing. Even the most professional agencies aren’t immune to power cuts, data loss, employee sickness, and other unforeseen events that commonly cause delays.
Some things that you can do to overcome these challenges include:
Develop realistic timelines: Overconfidence can easily obstruct your ability to meet deadlines. Set sensible timescales and deadlines for your deliverables and communicate them clearly to clients.
Account for contingencies: In line with setting realistic timelines, add a few extra days to your arranged delivery time. This can protect you in the face of a sudden delay, giving you a chance to rectify the issue before it can negatively impact your relationship with your client.
Be upfront should delays occur: Remember what we said about honesty? If you do experience a delay, be transparent with your client and let them know the issue you’re facing. Being upfront can mitigate any negativity and help you forge a more trusting relationship.
Aim to keep your clients in the loop by delivering feedback and reports on the progress of their projects. There are some great tools such as Iconosquare’s
This should be more than a simple message telling them how far along you are. Create a visually engaging report that goes into some detail about the status of deliverables. Visual reports communicate facts and figures in an appealing, easy-to-understand format that relays vital information without overwhelming your client with text.
Make a rule of being consistent. Decide on a timeframe with your client, and make sure you have reports ready on time. This eliminates any potential frustration clients may feel if they have to constantly chase you for updates.
Regular, on-time reporting also helps to foster trust. If you’re sending reports on time, every time, then clients will be much more confident in your ability to deliver projects on time, too.
To help you do this make the most of dedicated collaborative tools such as that designed by Iconosquare. With its collaboration and reporting capabilities you’ll be able to easily keep your clients informed of the progress of their project.
Screenshot from Iconosquare
Monthly social media reporting screenshot
Fostering a strong client-agency relationship is a two-way street, but there are lots of different strategies and techniques that you can use to connect with your clients. In doing so, you can improve the success rate of projects, gain positive customer testimonials that build your credibility, and ultimately win the loyalty and trust of your valuable clients.
Hopefully, this article has given you some actionable tips for building your relationships with clients. From prioritizing honesty to utilizing modern technologies and investing in your employees’ professional development, there are lots of strategies to play around with.
Try them out, and let us know what works for you!
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