I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “The customer is always right.” Well, I learned very early on in my career that this isn’t always the case, (shocking, right!?!). Sometimes the customer is completely incorrect and sometimes they aren’t even on the same page as you. So how do you bridge this gap to become the true liaison between the agency team and the client? Simple. It requires your agency to take on a partnership mentality of trust, respect and collaboration.
Partnerships Not Projects
In our roles as project managers, production managers or account strategists, we are the client’s main champion, while still being an advocate for our agency’s needs. We aren’t here to do the work for the client or have non-productive meetings to discuss why something didn’t work (even though we may want to). We are here to provide the services the client needs, while using the opportunity to learn from each other, so that the relationship is a solid partnership.
At WSOL, we don’t operate under a “one project and done” mentality. Most of our client relationships have developed into long term partnerships due to not just our expertise, but willingness to listen to the client and truly understand their pain points and needs. However, sometimes, we do need to share news with the client that they particularly don’t want to hear. When mutual trust, respect and collaboration are the cornerstones of your agency, it makes our ability to share the bad (with the good) exponentially easier.
Transparency is Key
In some situations, there is work or a service that we cannot provide, period. However, if you have a client relationship that is based on clear communication, then it’s not to difficult to have these conversations. The resolution becomes easier too; to make a plan of action and then work through things together. Clients know the reality of the situations and will respond better if you are transparent, have (or will have) a resolution and express empathy for it.
With all of this in mind, it’s really all about trust. This is the most important part of any relationship. In business, clients want to know that in the decisions you make on their account, guidance you provide and the money that they give has value to their long-term success. The return-on-investment (ROI) of your relationship should always be known, otherwise what sets you apart from the rest?
What are some things you have dealt with in your relationships with clients (either as a client yourself or employee of an agency)? We’d love to hear about them. Comment below or hit us up on Twitter at @wsolhq