Building a positive agency-client relationship is essential for both parties. As well as providing the services a client needs, agencies need to learn how to work positively with them too. However, it can be a challenge, particularly if the skills required don’t come naturally to you.
Learning how to communicate better, clearly understanding client needs or delivering value to their project, there are lots of ways agencies can improve their relationships with clients. Over the years, the designmc team have established our own set of values on how to build good client relationships that we still hold dear today.
Here are our top tips for forming long-standing, trusted relationships with your clients.
All be on the same team
Although you might work for separate companies, you are working together to meet the same aims and ambitions. In a sense, you’re both trying to put the ball in the back of the same net (creatively, technically or otherwise). As a result, you’re on the same team and need to work as such. Collaborating, communicating and understanding the collective aims are key.
Go above and beyond
To hit the mark, sometimes boundaries (and budgets) have to be pushed. Without doing this, the work may not hit the mark clients and agencies are collectively aiming for. As a result, our team won’t stop until we feel we have achieved a complete and comprehensive solution. We’re passionate about what we do and that’s what drives us to exceed the expectations of a brief.
We’re in it for the long-term
If you’re not genuinely interested in what your agency or client does, and can find no common ground to work from, then your relationship is doomed from the start. Just like any connection made in our personal lives, each side has to show genuine interest and respect for it to work long-term. At the end of the day, we’re all people who have lives outside of work, that’s why we don’t just want to be our clients’ business partners, but create a genuine connection that extends over a coffee, beer or dinner every so often.
Don’t be afraid to be honest
We believe that not being upfront about our thoughts and aims from the start does a disservice to our clients and their projects. So, when agencies believe there is a better and more beneficial solution for a client’s business, they shouldn’t be afraid to be honest. After all, clients hire us for our expertise, so we’d not be adding any value if we nodded quietly in a corner. That said, we know we’re not the ‘expert’ in the client’s business and value their honesty as much as our own.
Approach everything positively
Enthusiasm breeds positivity. By approaching everything with a sunny mindset, agencies and clients can automatically get more done and find appropriate solutions to even the most challenging issues. Although frustrations do occur and barriers are put in the way occasionally, keeping conversations calm and focused on outcomes will avoid making already difficult situations worse.
Create a two-way conversation
Although agencies provide a service, the best solutions are reached when they collaborate with clients to gain their insight and expertise. By establishing open channels of communication, we can share opinions, ideas and knowledge freely with our clients and be as productive and collaborative as possible.
Add real value
Agencies might have a new tool, technique or idea that they think is very exciting, but if it doesn’t match up to what our client needs, then it’s not adding value. We understand that bombarding clients with new innovations or out-there creativity isn’t always helpful, which is why we always focus on adding value for what they (and their customers) need rather than trying to sell any new shiny toys.
Whether it’s about the week’s upcoming challenges, a campaign a client has seen and liked or an idea they had about how to advertise a new product, chatting on a regular basis helps to build trust and understanding. This, in turn, produces better work and means agencies can meet briefs more closely, even if they’re particularly abstract or challenging.
Give and get feedback
No relationship is smooth sailing. So having an open forum to share thoughts on how projects are being run, what clients would like to improve and how both parties can operate more effectively together is essential. We believe in being accountable for the decisions we make and taking responsibility for them, no matter how difficult the feedback may be to hear.
As any article on customer experience will tell you, authenticity is the most important characteristic for any brand to express. This is also true for any agency looking to build a stronger connection with their clients. Keeping our brand and business true to who we are and what we believe is key to the way we operate. We’re not robots, we’re humans and we will always operate as such.
Like our values?
If you like the look of our values, then you sound like our sort of client. To find out more about how we could work together, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your brief and we can make the first step into an exciting and productive relationship.