Good client service starts with building good relationships built on trust, respect, commitment, engagement and excitement. Gallup notes that excited and engaged customers bring in 23 percent more profits. Why? Excitement fosters engagement—positive engagement and experiences lead to increased delight.
Here are a few tips on how to excite and delight your own clients.
By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
- Walker Information
Build Trust and Confidence
It’s only with trust that you’ll be empowered to lead strategy, test new ideas and make decisions on the fly when executing for a client. When a client trusts you, you have the freedom to produce your best and most creative work. But how do you build that trust?
Really listen to what your clients have to say—clarify anything murky, and don’t be in a rush to offer a solution.
Know their businesses
Buy and use their products. Understand their markets. Get into the mindset of their target audiences. Know what they want before they need it. This takes research and understanding, as well as courage to test for the unknown. But you may just stumble on that next big idea that will redefine your client’s business.
Know your clients
Try to put yourself in your clients’ shoes. What keeps them awake at night? Their market share, their consumers, their competitors, their ambitions, insecurities, targets and goals—this goes beyond just business. Invest time in getting to know them as people. Learn about their Interests, their family status/kids—connect personally.
Communicate Honestly & consistently
Things happen—professionally and personally—your client knows that. If issues arise for any reason, communicate to your client as soon as possible. Keep lines of communication open, be ready to explain why the issue happened and present a solution. Schedule weekly or monthly calls or in-person meetings to communicate current project statuses, next steps and needs from the client and internal teams. Identify what’s been accomplished and how it’s impacted their businesses.
Become a Valued Partner
One of the key ways to make a true connection with a client in any field is to position yourself as a partner, versus a vendor. This takes the trust and confidence mentioned above—and it also takes due diligence.
A strategic plan is essential, be that annual, quarterly or by campaign. Define what you need to achieve and with whom. Set goals, define the objectives and KPIs to meet those goals, develop a strategy and map out deliverables. What are the brand persona and image that need to be portrayed? Push the boundaries—be innovative. Excite the client and become "valued partner," rather than "supplier."
Check in Regularly
Know the numbers behind what the client needs to achieve—both operational and marketing goals. What can marketing affect, and are we doing well in our partnership? What do we need to improve on? Revisit the goals, strategy and creative regularly, if needed. What are significant market trends? Involve C-level and senior clients where possible to ensure buy-in further up the line.
CREATE A PURPOSEFUL BRAND
There's no better way to build a delightful partnership with a client than by giving their brand purpose—it can be a tough sell to a company most interested in bottom line, but it's worth the persistence and investment.
Develop Key Messaging
After setting brand persona and image, document key messages and align them with target audiences. These key messages are the most important takeaways the audience will walk away with after interacting with your client's brand. These messages should incorporate the unique aspects of the client's business and value added to customers—all focusing around your brand personality. Dig deep, and identify that one thing that will separate them from the pack—the one thing the client will never fail on.
Develop a creative platform
Support and prove your client's brand promise and messaging. A creative platform is essential for a brand, but it does not take the place of human forethought and creative brainstorming. The creative team should always push the envelope and think outside the box on how they can better promote what makes a brand so special.
Look for the opportunity to solve a problem for your client. This will not only excite and delight them and C-level or senior leadership, but it also continues to enhance your personal relationship. Securing your clients’ confidence is key to earning the right to your customer’s future projects and business.