Clients are the bloodline of the advertising industry. No clients, no business, no revenue, no agency.
This is a universal truth. And if you are a client servicing person, you know it more than I do. For those who have opted to service clients (and be the face of your agency), it’s time to understand this beast and learn the rules of engagement. If you follow these five golden rules, you will have a happy client, a happy boss and a happy pay check 😉
Rule No. 1: Clients are human beings
Just like you and me – some clients are smart, some unreasonable, some number driven, some go by their gut, some give your nightmares and some give you a pat on your back. To err is human and so is to service clients. Treat them as human beings and try to understand their psyche. If you have a degree in human psychology or you are a natural expert at studying human behaviour, you are one up on your client servicing peers.
Over a period of time, try to get into the psyche of your client(s). It will help you devise good solutions to all marketing briefs (Remember: The first target audience for your brilliant idea is your client.)
Rule No. 2: Clients need to be educated
‘The client is always right’ – whoever said this needs to be shot in his head, twice. All of us need education. For folks working in the digital advertising industry, the web transforms every single day. There is new stuff to learn and old stuff to unlearn. While you learn, it is important that your client learns with you.
Share industry reports with your clients on a regular basis, proactively. Clients love to see that you are taking pains to learn their business. Make sure that you send a competition scan or a relevant blog article to your client. A case study shared would be icing on the cake. All clients love to be pampered with data, industry insights and new learning.
Do this to expand your horizon, and your clients understanding of the advertising industry. For client servicing folks in the digital advertising industry, here is a small 6 slide presentation structure that will wow your clients:
Slide 1: Internet trends – growth of the internet vs. growth of your client’s business category (industry)– You can get this data from Comscore
Slide 2: Competition website traffic comparision graph (YOY) – from Comscore or from Alexa
Slide 3: Search insights of competitors, and growth relative to category. – From Google Insights for Search or Google Trends
Slide 4: Snapshot of competitors on Social media – manual research
Slide 5: Display media activity of competitors– from Nielsen or ViziSense
Slide 6: Summary and Recommendations
Rule No 3: Clients need attention
We are working in an economy where attention is a scarce commodity. As client servicing people, we work on multiple accounts and service multiple clients. While this is challenging in itself, our attention spans are going down. We are on Facebook, on Twitter and on YouTube, and in between that we work on client campaigns and answer pressing emails.
Clients need attention. The better you get at turning around stuff quickly, the less attention clients will demand. Try and make sure you live by these productivity rules –
- Be on time for meetings – value time
- Keep your plate clean – If you get work, do or delegate.
- Inform clients – one of the critical mistakes we do is not communicate. Let the clients know how much time will it take to complete the work and schedule accordingly. Pick up the phone. Emails are getting obsolete.
- Time for yourself – If you have developed a good relationship with your client, let them know when you hit the gym or are not available to take calls. Keep time for your family. Do not pick up client calls after a certain hour of the day. I am saying this publicly to sensitize clients that we (CS) are human beings and our teams (creative, social, search etc.) are also human beings.
- Effective networking – Know your client’s boss and his/her bosses boss. Know everyone in the hierarchy. Call frequently to make sure they recognize your voice and know your phone number. Networking should be effective, not just for the sake of it. Make sure your conversations are meaningful, especially if you are talking with someone higher up.
I shall turn over this post to you. What do you do to provide quality and god speed client service? Any other rules that you need to bring to notice for the greater good of the client servicing community? Share your comments.