How to keep your clients happy and attract new business at the same time
If you read the last blog post in this series, you’ll remember how we saw that the three biggest reasons for clients firing their marketing agencies boiled down to one main problem — poor communications.
When your communications with clients aren’t clear enough, they’re more likely to become unhappy with your approach, express dissatisfaction with your creative work or feel you’re not being proactive enough on their behalf.
That can be disastrous for client retention — especially as a recent CMO Council survey found that only 36% of marketers are committed to staying with their current agency this year. If good communications help you retain the loyalty and satisfaction of the other 64%, yours have got to be worth improving.
It’s the same story when it comes to winning new clients. Another study found that well over a third of clients have decided against awarding work to an agency because it doesn’t have good enough tools for managing work and communications on the account.
What clients value from good communications
Improving your systems and processes to deliver better communications doesn’t simply improve client satisfaction, it delivers a range of clear and specific benefits. In particular, when agencies have effective communications systems in place, clients value the following:
- Better project management
- Faster project completion
- Visibility of progress and results.
And, as you’ll see when you download our guide on How to Grow Your Marketing Agency, the number of clients who say they value these benefits isn’t small — it ranges from 44% to 60%, or a significant proportion of your client base.
Improving marketing agency communications
The message then, isn’t one of doing nothing!
Given that it’s five times cheaper to keep a new client than it is to get a new one, improving your agency communications is sure to pay quick dividends.
In our next post, we’ll be looking at some of the main communication sticking points that clients and agencies experience. But there’s really no substitute for seeing your agency through your clients’ eyes — and if you’re to do that, you need to get their feedback.
So why not make your first step towards improved communications and ask your clients how they see you?
These are just some of the ways you could do it.
1. Informally, in person or on the phone
Arrange appointments with your key clients to ask for informal feedback on how your agency communicates and performs. Ask for ideas that could help improve your customer service and quality of work. Often, making time for regular feedback sessions like this is an ideal way to improve client communications — and can lead to many mutually beneficial innovations.
2. Questionnaires and surveys
Clients are busy, and not all of them will find or make time to fill in a questionnaire or survey. However, you can reach a larger number of clients relatively quickly in this way, and you can make survey completion as simple as possible by providing an online version.
3. Focus groups
Be careful with these. It’s usually a bad idea to bring different clients together to discuss your performance and communications, but if you work with a range of different people within an organisation you can invite them to take part in a focus group. If you combine it with a project update meeting and keep it relatively informal, you’ll get a better response and results.
4. Talking to former clients
Why not? If clients have left you, ask them for a debrief. They’ll give you an insight into how you can improve your communications, and may even give you insider knowledge of what their current marketing agency is doing well. If their current agency isn’t doing well, you could be opening the door to your return!
Handled sensitively, all of these methods can give you valuable information that will help you improve your communications, systems and processes — leading to better client retention and acquisition.
In our next post we’ll be taking a look at where the client relationship often goes wrong, and what you can do to breathe new life into the way you work together.
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