We talk a lot about campaign performance improvements and new channel features, but we don’t often talk about client relationship management. Everyone has their own management style, but we thought we’d share our tips for growing and improving client relationships.
Be proactive in client communication. Don’t wait for the client to reach out with suggestions, you should be providing them with new opportunities and suggestions to improve performance in their accounts. Not all communication has to be account specific either. You can email them an interesting article related to their industry. I like to use Google alerts to stay on top of any news about a client’s company or industry. Regular communication lets the client know you are on top of their accounts and improves trust.
Anytime you can meet in-person or face to face, do it. Given our highly connected online world, we don’t always get to meet or sometimes even see the people we’re working with on a regular basis. We all know that it’s sometimes hard to read emotions or tone in texts, but voice discussions alone leave out body language, also a big component to communication. If you have the ability to go meet clients in-person, do it. If you can’t or don’t have the potential to do so for a while, ask to have a video call amongst the regular phone calls you have to change things up and get to know the body language that is associated with certain tones of voice.
Overcommunicate without being overbearing. I feel that lack of communication often breeds misunderstandings and misperceptions. When you provide robust call notes before client calls and action items for you and the client after the calls, expectations, and deliverables are clear and confusion is minimalized. Verifying decisions on a call in writing ensures both parties heard the same thing and allows room for clarification is someone was mistaken. Part of communicating well is to make sure you respond to phone calls and emails in a timely manner. Sometimes, this might mean taking one minute to acknowledge that you received the email but need to look into it at another time to provide feedback. If you don’t respond at all because you are too busy, then the client can feel neglected.
Do your best to find shared interests outside of work. We all have lives outside of work and hobbies or interests we’re passionate about. I’ve found that if I can find a shared interest with a client it helps break down the barriers that exist in work-only relationships and helps everybody relax a bit. If you can’t find a shared interest, at least make an effort to know what theirs are and then ask about them! Showing an interest in the things another person cares about is a basic tool for relationship building and should be utilized in client relationships as well.
Take time to truly understand your client’s priorities. For instance, while your focus may be to generate leads, your client’s immediate focus may involve fixing internal sales processes to ensure that they’re properly following up with leads. Be willing to advocate for your client and help them work through tasks like this however you can. In addition, be on the same page for the ultimate goals of your campaign. Discuss what metrics will actually best reflect business success, and gear your written reports and conversations about the goals that matter. While CTR and CPC are metrics that should be monitored, they don’t matter as much as metrics relating to qualified leads or sales.
Do your best to be an extension of their team. Celebrate their successes and share in the frustrations that they encounter as well. If a client feels like you are truly an advocate for their business, that relationship is going to be stronger. Do all you can to show the client that you’re working as hard as possible to meet their goals by over-communicating and asking thoughtful questions.
What tips do you have for better client-account manager relationships? We’d love to hear yours in the comments!