A happy client base is pivotal for any agency to grow and develop. Satisfied, happy clients are loyal, they will not leave you for the competition and in times of crisis can become true allies of your agency. On the other hand, these are the clients who recommend you to their friends, family and business connections, and therefore get new clients for your business.
In these times of economic slowdown, it is as important to keep your clients happy as it is to get new clients for your business. Here we present some tips to ensure you have a bunch of happy clients that will never want to stop working with you!
1. Ask them how satisfied they are with the service you are providing
Make sure you know what is working and what is not. Do it directly; send an email or pick up the phone but ensure you don’t do this in an environment where they can feel pressurised to answer (a conference call with 5 people on it including their bosses!).
Most clients will be open and tell you if there is something that needs addressing. If the answer is good, then you can ask them to provide a review of your company in any of the platforms you use to that effect (Google, Trustpilot, Feefo) – which will also help you get more clients!
2. Make sure you use your knowledge and add value
Most clients come to an agency because they need direction, advice and insights, not just a reporting tool.
If you are lucky enough to have clients that know what they are talking about (in our case, digital marketing), don’t stop at sending a report with just numbers and top-line performance. Give your expert opinion, analyse what has worked and what hasn’t. Suggest changes and always provide solutions!
All clients will be grateful for this, in fact, it is what they will expect! They can check AdWords or Google Analytics themselves; whereas they pay us for our experience and knowledge, not for us to repeat what reporting tools say.
3. Get personal
Take time to connect with them. Share a few of your personal struggles, joke, smile and be friendly. Why not start a conversation about your dog chewing up your carpet this morning? Whatever story you decide to share, take an interest in their lives in order to build trust and empathy. A bit of stalking on clients Linkedin and Twitter accounts to learn a bit more about their passions and what they are into never hurt anyone!
4. Be honest and manage expectations
This is obvious. Be honest, be transparent and be true. Usually, clients appreciate candor and prefer to be told that something will take longer than expected, over being let down with pushed deadlines. If there is something that you don’t have the resource to do, better to be open about it than being put in a difficult situation.
5. Ensure they know about the good work you do
Have you achieved good SEO rankings for a very competitive keyword? Have you reached an all-time-low cost per lead? Has one of the blog posts you created been reshared by someone relevant? Is your Facebook ad generating lots of positive comments? Have you hired a new person?
They need to know. They LOVE to know. A quick email here and there letting them know about big or small victories can go a long way. It also helps the person responsible for dealing with the agency to boast about good results to their senior stakeholders. It’s a win-win situation!
6. Take responsibility
We all make mistakes (even clients!) but being open about it instead of trying to hide it is always the best option and can save situations escalating. It’s important that we retain trust from clients, and being caught in a lie can destroy that forever!
In case of errors or mistakes, be quick to inform, quick to take responsibility, quick to recommend solutions and quick to solve! They will appreciate it.
7. Ask for their input but be assertive. You are the expert!
It is important that clients feel like they are being listened to. In fact, clients are your biggest ally to really understand a brief and what they expect from you. They are the ones that know their product/service/audience best, and they will always have good ideas or suggestions on how to market their brand.
However, make sure you tell them if they want to do something you think won’t work, or won’t benefit them. Stick to your guns and be assertive, you are the expert and in most of the cases, you know better. Just make sure you back up your arguments with examples, resources or previous experiences. They are paying you for it. If you have a client that consistently ignores your suggestions and wants to do exactly as they please without really listening to you…this is probably a client you want to get rid of.
8. Keep communication constant
A quick short email letting them know you’ve implemented the changes you’ve spoken about, or an email letting them know you’ve started work on a deliverable they are expecting can go a long way. Clients hate to be in the dark, and the more you speak to them the more you can know what to expect.
Make sure you take time to set face to face meetings at least once every couple of months and ensure communication doesn’t stop at sending a few emails a week. Sometimes it takes two minutes to resolve an issue on the phone that would have taken a whole morning of back and forth emails.
Even if the client is not particularly responsive due to being very busy (or just not caring too much!), make sure you keep the communication going, at least from your side. Clients will appreciate this, and it could help you defend your company and your work in case they decide to terminate the agreement.
9. Keep everything in writing!
Many client’s love having notes sent to them after a meeting or a call. Ensure actions and responsibilities are written down and understood by everyone, and make sure you follow up on them.
If a piece of work is approved over the phone (a new campaign, new budget, some designs, etc) make sure you also get a written confirmation. This last tip is more for your sake than to help you keep clients happy but is just as important as most clients appreciate it!
10. Be proactive, not passive or reactive
A good client will want you to suggest new things, tactics and approaches; keep them updated on industry news, letting them know about new tools you’ve recently discovered. Since we are a digital marketing agency, we are here to provide value and share our expertise. If the client feels they need to tell you what to do all the time and they are the ones leading the communication, they will eventually get tired and look for someone better. Don’t let that happen!
We know that some of the above tips sound very obvious but when you’re working in a digital marketing agency, and you have 5 or 10 clients to look after, these points can be easy to oversee.
Agencies lose clients all the time, sometimes by no fault of their own but following the above tips, the chances of them staying with you for a long time are multiplied by 10.
At Passion Digital, we provide a range of services to help you work towards your company goal. If you would like to chat to us directly, get in touch with one of our team members – we’re here to help!