Over the past five years, we have experienced dramatic changes in client relationship management and setting expectations. Agencies are not the only institutions fighting with the ever-evolving media landscape and technology disruptions. Organizations are forced to face change on nearly a daily basis and we, as agency partners, are forced to make sense of the chaos.
So how do we address this ongoing challenge?
When these changes impact a previously proven strategy – immediate and forthright acknowledgment is the first step. Given our role as senior communications strategists, we must share insights and information as soon as possible even if it is counter to previous recommendations.
Everyone on the team needs to feel empowered to speak up when something is not delivering results. From interns on up, we encourage team members to share their personal and unique perspective on a situation while encouraging them to conduct research and assess the data themselves. Consequently, allowing employees to be better positioned to offer recommendations.
When we have identified a flaw in a program strategy, it is not always an easy conversation to have with the client. Often times we are executing on one of their strategies and we are put in the position to tell them they are wrong. A fatal flaw in this approach is not bringing the client along on the journey. We recommend sharing the insight in a one on one conversation versus through email or during a team call. This will allow the client to process the information, ask questions and buy into the recommendation. We then have an advocate on the inside to help us turn the approach.
Another mistake that we can make is not listening to our clients. While we believe we are on the cutting edge of change we may not have a specific internal insight that needs to be considered. Without asking questions first, we put ourselves in a position of weakness and the recommendations we make could easily have holes punched in them.
While change is constant it does not have to be hard or painful. When properly embraced, a change in how you manage your client relationship will lead to growth and success.
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