What’s for a business without clients? Your company may have the greatest ideas, but if you don’t have any clients buying them, something might be wrong. Creative businesses sell ideas, and clients in general, have a lot of expectations. How to run your agency building strong and transparent relationships with clients? That’s what Client Management is all about.
Client Management is about understanding and developing a plan to interact with your clients, so they may be more satisfied and retained for a long time. Now the question is: How? If your business is already applying a Client Management plan, congrats! In this blog, you’ll find our recommended best practices for Creative business so you can improve your current plan. And if you don’t have any resources for Client Management, read carefully, and soon, you’ll be ready to start.
Setting the flow
This is the first step. Setting the flow from the very beginning will help you create agreements and avoid misunderstandings along the way. Ask your clients how they prefer to keep in touch, be it email or phone calls or even an online platform or a chat service. This line of communication will be essential for checking in with your clients and helping them throughout every stage of the project.
“Clients are people, and people have different communication patterns. You must communicate in the mode that your client is comfortable with, or you risk losing them,” says Andrew Clark, the Marketing Strategist for Duckpin. If your clients agree to speak by email or phone or something else, have a backup plan. Record meetings (with previous authorization) or write notes every time, this way, you’ll remember details that can be left out and still be useful.
Internally, you’ll also need ways to set the communication and workflow with your creative team. Tools like project management software are a great option to plan, keep track and deliver work. Make sure you use the most customizable ones in and out of the company; getting work done successfully would be much easier.
This is the second thing you’ll want and need to do. After the line of communication is agreed upon, setting boundaries is the following in order to control expectations from both sides.
If you don’t know where to start, there are two ways of doing it:
1. Ask your client what they expect
Ask your client straight up what they’re expecting. Maybe they expect your strategy to result in more sales and your brand’s expertise is branding. This question will help you both be on the same page. Plus, you can use your knowledge of past clients’ experiences and let the current ones know how long it may take you to achieve deliverables and goals.
2. Only discuss what you know you can offer
You know exactly what your product or service will deliver; keep your clients always grounded on what you can do and what’s out of your reach. Don’t bring up space for something extra. Instead, let your client be pleasantly surprised.
3. Define a clear project scope
The project scope is a detailed outline of all aspects of a project that need to be done during an agreed timeframe. It is usually defined in a document called “scope statement” in which the project goals, deliverables, tasks, costs, and deadlines are included. Defining your project’s scope from the very start helps manage your client’s expectations and ensures that all of the project’s elements are worked and delivered according to what’s written.
4. Agree on the number of revision rounds
Clients may go a little bit too far on edits, and it can be frustrating and time-consuming. This excessive “ping pong” of adjustments can really derail the workflow or make a project less profitable or unprofitable. To avoid this from happening in your agency, limit the included revisions in your agreement. A tool such as Planeolo will help you keep track of these revisions and alerts you when you’re about to exceed the number of revision rounds allowed.
Make the first move
How often do you talk to clients? Only when it’s necessary? This is fine but it could be better. Taking the lead to reach your clients first will develop relationships in a way that will pay off for everyone and also, make them feel that they made the right decision working with you. Try reaching out every week or two to make sure everything is going well and get feedback on what you have been delivering so far. Keeping in touch with your client frequently is especially important soon after the purchase. They will appreciate you taking the time to contact them, and you’ll be able to tackle any issues that could cost you future money.
A study by Invesp showed that it costs five times more to attract a new client than to keep an existing one. So, when it comes to counting bills, staying updated with current clients seems like a sustainable practice.
When reaching out to your clients, avoid showing doubt or insecurities in what you’re offering, it will show in your voice, and your client will sense it. Instead, always contact them with the belief everything’s going great and how you could make it better. And last, tell them they can always reach out to you for anything.
Offer customized products and services
Everything you deliver to your clients must be aligned with their needs. Do you know their main goals? Do you know the key performance indicators that the client is looking for? Your work needs to focus on their concerns. When working on a creative project,t’s all about understanding what the client wants, and then delivering that information on a timely basis. This is one of the key fundamentals of customer experience.
And customer experience nowadays is everything. An American Express study found that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. The study also remarked on consistency, friendliness, and human touch as values customers appreciate.
So, listen first and propose later. Trying to close a deal without having meaningful conversations with prospects won’t develop those lasting relationships that are vital to a thriving business.
Tom Crowe of Tom Crowe Digital, says, “By far my most effective strategy is about transparency. Clients want to know exactly what is happening when it’s happening and exactly what they’re paying for.” Being transparent is a non-negotiable aspect in Client Management, and it truly pays off.
For example, if one of your projects is underperforming instead of trying to hide it, explain to the client you’re analyzing why this is happening, and that you’ll have a solution in mind.
Be fully open in all your reporting and be prepared to explain everything that you are doing with transparency. Even if the results are not the best ones, your clients will appreciate honesty and find the best resolution path together.
Planeolo, the best tool for Client Management and service delivery in your creative business
In creative businesses clients are constantly keeping an eye on every single thing you deliver and their experience working with your team. Whether it is written content, a video or a global campaign, they expect to receive a piece of content that reflects their brand identity: values, language, tone, style. And how do you manage all these client interactions during each project? If you’re still doing this by standalone e-mails or text messages, you need Planeolo.
Planeolo is an all-in-one tool for creatives that will help you keep track of your client’s interactions in one single place. Deliver projects faster by reducing repetitive tasks and saving money through planning thanks to in-depth analytics on client interactions.
With Planeolo your business will be able to:
- Visualize the entire production process in an interactive timeline
- Keep track of revision rounds and send updates to clients
- Build your own workflow from scratch or use existing templates
- Offer a client portal where they can view and interact with current projects
Are you ready to start? Try it for free and discover for yourself its features and benefits.