How to ensure effective client/ agency communication
There is a fine line between effective communication and ineffective communication. The thin line is between properly saying and conveying the right message to the client, and sometimes for both parties involved, this can be difficult.
On the agency side, this can be due to a lack of information or too much information, charts and even examples. A client who gets too many reports without an explanation does not mean it is effective. This can be the same as a client not getting enough reports with no information.
On the client side, an agency only knows as much information that is given to them or what is shared with them. If your company is not sharing vital information with their agency, then it can be difficult for the agency to do anything about it.
Effective communication is the pillar of a prosperous client relationship that lasts throughout the agency/ client relationship.
When both parties are searching for more communication, it is important for an agency to follow these effective client communication tips to ensure a long- client relationship.
Listen, no actually listen.
The thing is, just because you are “listening”, does not mean you are actually listening. Think of it as when your significant other says, “Are you listening to me?” A client could feel like this after several times of the same issue or concern that continues to happen over and over again. There are four different ways to listen to a client.
A number of experts will suggest active listening. Active listening is taking it one step further from just listening. It is important to listen carefully when presenting or during client meetings to hear your client’s actual problems or misunderstandings. This helps deter communication issues, along with, stopping common problems that can cause anger and frustration to build up over time. Not only should an agency actively listen to their clients, but it is important for effective client communication to be transparent.
While being transparent sounds like the latest buzzword in the business world, transparency shows a different side of the client/ agency relationship which starts building even more trust between the client and your agency.
As Mike from WordStream says, “You always, always, always have to tell your client like it is. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got good or bad news. Tell them what they need to know, and tell them when they need to know it.”
A client does not want to hear the bad news, but a client needs to hear it. This way the client can ask all the necessary questions, and if need be, plan for the future. No one wants to have these meetings. A client also needs to be transparent and honest with their agency about things that the agency does not want to hear.
A budget cut? Well, tell us like it is. There is nothing worse in the business world than being blind-sided and left wondering, “Shit, now what?” Because face it, we have all been there, and it sucks.
The way this can be handled with effective client communication is with a scheduled communication plan/ system in place.
Create a communication plan/ schedule
This is imperative for effective client communication because without speaking to one another- there is no communication happening. Whether it is once a week, once a month, bi-weekly, quarterly, whatever that communication schedule or plan looks like, keep to it.
This helps to diminish frustration and misunderstandings before it turns into a client getting ready to head out the door over the smallest mistake or misunderstanding.
There are hundreds of free tools and softwares out there that allow for agencies to book a meeting on their client’s calendars and vice versa. This is one way that this helps create frequent communication between a client and their agency.
While effective communication seems like a no-brainer in the business world, this can be one of the hardest things for both an agency and its clients.
At Dallas Media Group, we speak with a number of our clients each week or at least once a month/ quarter. This helps to get a better insight into their business and continue to foster a strong client relationship.
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