Having spent the past four years within the client services/account management industry, I have come to realise five key aspects of what I think benefit and strengthen the relationships with your clients (whatever the sector your company may be in).
1.Communicate- You can never update a client too many times.
From the moment a new client comes on board, make sure you are in the initial ‘kick off’ meeting to introduce yourself and to make them aware of your role throughout the relationship, let them know you are there to answer any questions they might have and that you are available to help with anything they may need.
Being within a fast-paced social/content agency environment, terminology can be quite easily ‘thrown about’ and steps of a project can move ahead quite quickly, so ensure to send regular ‘overview’ and ‘update’ emails after each meeting/stage of a contract. Even if you feel like you are ‘spamming’ their inbox! A client once said to me ‘spam away’ to which I knew that our clients would always rather be ‘spammed’ than ‘ignored’.
2. Do your research.
Whether it’s a new client coming on board or a new account you need to take over mid-contract, be sure to do your research and find out as much information prior to getting involved. Ask questions, read up on their contract, create a spreadsheet to organise/categorise these details for you to refer back to. This way you will feel much more confident and at ease, not to mention, the client will also feel extremely comfortable with the person that is running their account
3. Don’t be afraid to have the difficult conversations.
We all know that there will come times where things won’t always go to plan (because let’s face it not everything always does) and sometimes we have to prepare ourselves to explain these ‘hiccups’ to the client either in person or on a phone call. The only thing I can say to help us mentally prepare for these is that… We are all adults, things can go wrong, but the client will have much more respect for you for bringing this to their attention, empathising with them and offering a ‘win-win’ solution to resolve it rather than you trying to ignore/push the problem to the back of your mind in hope that it will be forgotten!
4. Nobody’s perfect, so always ask for feedback.
When it comes to the end of a client’s contract or project, don’t forget to ask them for feedback from working together and ways that it could have been improved. Even if you end up receiving some constructive criticism look at the positive side of it: you will be constantly improving yourself for all future relationships with clients. If you wanted to measure numerous aspects of the client relationship, a good website to use to develop your own ‘client feedback form’ is www.typeform.com. It allows you to receive up to 100 form completions per month and you also receive email notifications once one has been completed.
Your role may not be ‘business development manager’ but as a client services/account manager, it goes a long way attending as many relevant networking events as possible. Being in a client facing role, it is really important to practise your people skills as much as possible. Networking gives you the opportunity to represent your business and meet people in all kinds of industries, so get chatting to them and make them remember you. Yes, they can be very scary but progress never came from setting up camp in your comfort zone!
Do you have any other tips or advice? Feel free to comment them below.