Dealing with terrible client relationships is never fun for any digital marketing agency. It's not only a grind for the account lead or project manager, but it can also dampen the team's morale and impact productivity.
The good news is that many unpleasant situations can be mitigated or defused by a well-designed client communication strategy. Here are seven client communication tips to make life easier for everyone.
1. Set expectations
At the start of each client engagement, you should set some standards regarding client communication channels and response time. For instance, the client should know if your typical response time is one working day for email and voicemail.
Outline what should be communicated via phone, email, Slack, or a project management tool, like Basecamp. You may also establish an emergency channel (e.g., text) through which a client can get a response right away.
2. Choose a single point of contact
The client should have one point person to handle all the communications with your agency—for example, by consolidating and resolving all the feedback from the internal team before sharing it with your project manager.
Choosing a single point of contact goes both ways, too. If you have multiple stakeholders from the client-side talking to different people in your team, chaos and miscommunications are bound to happen. So set one point person on your team, and make them set one point person on theirs.
3. Use collaboration tools
Choose the right collaboration platform to manage client communications, file sharing, and deliverables. You may use a project management system (e.g., Asana or Basecamp) that allows your team to send email notifications and post creatives for review. You may use a different solution to share large files or serve as a repository to which a client can upload the latest brand assets, so your team can access them at all times.
4. Focus on demonstrating value
Sometimes clients may not understand the time and effort your team has put into a project. You should share progress and metrics to show the value you're delivering every step of the way. For example, instead of just posting a landing page mockup for review, add an explanation of how the design elements are helping your client achieve their business objectives.
5. Standardize information gathering
Digital marketing has many moving parts. It's important to capture all client input before a project starts. Create checklists and templates to streamline information gathering and ensure that your team has the right information to meet a client's expectations.
The process also ensures that everyone is on the same page to avoid "he says she says" situations down the road.
6. Educate clients about your process
While a website loads in seconds, making changes to the codes could take days. But many people may think updating a website is just a matter of a few clicks!
To avoid unnecessary frustrations, educate your clients about the effort required to perform specific tasks. Also, take the opportunity to communicate the fee involved so you can avoid disputes down the road. This leads nicely into our final point.
7. Practice transparency and empathy
At the end of the day, we're all human. Be genuine in your client communication. Be thoughtful by stepping into your client's shoes. Be helpful by devising solutions on their behalf. Be transparent to foster the trust you need to build a positive and long-term relationship. This will form the foundation you need to constructively navigate through challenging situations in the future.
Use these tried-and-true client communication tips
That was a lot, so let’s have a quick recap:
- Set expectations
- Choose a single point of contact
- Use collaboration tools
- Focus on demonstrating value
- Standardize information gathering
- Educate clients about your process
- Practice transparency and empathy
Now, use these tips to improve your client communication and keep growing your agency business!