For the foreseeable future, the single highest priority for any agency is to hold on to existing clients. But to do that you have to have the right intelligence about what they expect, what they think of you and you have to act on it.
It’s happened to all of us. A solid, ongoing client relationship suddenly gets turned on its head when your client tells you she is leaving the company you’ve been working with for years. After cursing, you ponder what will happen. Who will be the new client? Will you keep the business? Still enjoy the relationship? How much effort will this take? What should you do?
Mistakes we all make and someone who doesn’t allow for them to happen will never be a good leader. It matters only how you deal with them. The problem is; when you don’t know your people have made a mistake or when nobody tells you, you will suffer as a leader from the self-defense mechanism of your own troops.
A well-known Agency Business principle: Clients are won on creativity and lost on service. Right. But this “poor service” concept has many dimensions and degrees of seriousness. Let me describe the absolute sin, the most effective way to lose a client.
Receiving a client’s brief is just the start. Providing an effective service demands an in-depth understanding of how the business actually operates and frank discussions with the client about any gaps between what it promises and the delivery.
What makes a perfect agency? Everyone has a different opinion about the answer. In our view the most important opinion is the client’s. We evaluate dozens of agencies worldwide every year and we hear all kinds of opinions. However, one particular agency I talk about in my latest blog really stands out.
Social media can be incredibly useful in business-to-business because, by encouraging an open dialogue with both customers and prospects, it helps build close relationships. It’s also multi-faceted – as much about listening and learning as talking – which makes these relationships more enduring.
What drives client satisfaction in professional services? Is it the quality of the end product and the results you deliver? No. Good communication is the key and Adam Turinas runs through the key factors to good communication.
Andre Coetzee poses the question: “Have you ever suggested a great idea that just didn’t ‘land’, only to have it suggested by someone else a little while later and it being actively received?” He explains that getting your good ideas across has a better chance of succeeding if you develop some subtle skills of timing and persuasion to ensure that they are not only understood but received enthusiastically.
Trust is the foundation of strong business relationships and pays off in both tangible and intangible ways. It is hard to earn but easy to lose. Trust has to permeate every aspect of an organisation’s behaviour and actions, from staff interactions to honest dealings with clients.
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