Keeping a client who sees your service as an expense versus an indispensable investment is practically impossible.
It is especially problematic for agencies―marketing, social media, PR―that work with clients on a retainer basis and where deliverables may vary from month to month.
Being great at what you do and doing your job well are certainly prerequisites.
But what if a big part of what you do includes doing the work that’s not that visible to the client?
What if it takes time to create the results the client hired you for?
What if you do everything you can, but the results are taking time to show up?
What do you do to make your clients rave about working with you even during those “slow results” periods?
Setting the right expectations from the very beginning is critical. But equally as important is regularly communicating with the client―sending relevant updates in a timely manner and in a format that allows the client to easily absorb the information you are sharing.
“I am doing that already!” you might say. But if your way of keeping the client informed about what you’ve accomplished in the past 4 weeks looks like sending them a status report that’s several pages long and laden with data and jargon, you might as well stop.
There is no point in sending those reports. Best case scenario is that your client will leaf through the report. Worst―they will see your email with an attachment and skip it.
And that’s unfortunate because you’ve worked hard for that client and your team, most likely, put hours into outlining what you’ve done!
Do this to have clients rave about you
When our client Brigitte Lyons, founder of the boutique PR firm, B Think Forward, came to us, reporting was one of the acute issues.
Status reports were a nightmare of chasing down emails, requesting status updates from all team members, waiting for responses, searching high and low for documents, and revising quickly-outdated information.
A short 4 months later, and Brigitte’s team member can create a report in 15 minutes.
Their secret―a customer management hub we created for B Think Forward. It holds everything from client data migrated from all the spreadsheets, folders, subfolders, checklists, and email threads, to Brigitte’s signature process.
It allows Brigitte and her team to instantly know at a glance what’s happening with each individual client, and across the business as a whole.
Updates are made right inside the client hub, and every team member can immediately check, in real-time, what’s going on with each client.
So, now, all they need to do to see the complete picture of the clients’ projects and the status of individual tasks is to log into the hub.
As a result, pulling the necessary data on each client takes but a few minutes instead of a series of frustrating days.
Make your reporting a “not-to-miss” event
But what makes the reporting so engaging and a “not-to-miss” event for Brigitte’s clients is the video that Brigitte sends along.
It’s a 2-minute update video, showing each client exactly what Brigitte’s team has achieved for them so far and how the team’s actions are getting the client closer to their goals.
To record that video Brigitte shares a view of the specific client’s project inside the client hub, and walks the client through the data and numbers making it simple for the client to understand the context and feel confident in the process.
What led Brigitte to do that?
Having dug into the results of her customer research, Brigitte noticed that, in the past, despite the fact that her clients were receiving regular reports, many of them weren’t really clear what Brigitte’s team was doing.
On the other hand, most of her best clients―the clients who were the happiest and who stayed longest with Briggite―were the people that they treated more like partners rather than clients:
This shift made an incredible impact on the client’s perception and satisfaction of the work being done. This approach now positions Brigitte as a valuable strategic partner rather than a monthly expense:
What could you do in your agency to move away from lengthy, unengaging, and unclear written updates?
What would it take for you to transform the relationship with your clients from a vendor to a strategic partner? Or maybe you’ve had a similar experience to Brigitte?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Let’s explore what system improvement can change the way your clients see you and how long they stay with you together. Book your Systems Audit here.