In today’s highly competitive and rapidly-evolving marketplace, agencies cannot afford to skimp on client management. As award-winning designer and founding partner of Bourn Creative, Jennifer Bourn, explains, “A completed project done on time and within budget is the minimum requirement [for clients].”
In order to exceed client expectations and foster loyal relationships with your customers, communication is of the utmost importance. A strong client management plan, with scheduled and proactive communications, can be the defining factor that sets your business apart from your competitors.
Scheduled Meetings vs. Proactive Communication
According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), managers should consider holding shorter meetings more often, as opposed to lengthy meetings that gather infrequently. When everyone involved in a project meets once a week or every other week, it makes it easier to stay on top of schedule, ensure that team members are being held accountable for their assignments, and that the client always remains informed. These kinds of regular meetings with clients should follow a predictable schedule in which you and your team discuss key items related to the project, including:
- Task updates from team members.
- Planned tasks for the upcoming week.
- Budget status update.
- Potential issues (such as risks, vendor delays, etc.)
- Client questions or concerns.
- Next steps for the project.
Aside from frequent meetings, proactive communication is another way to build customer trust. If something unexpected occurs that may impact a client’s timeline or budget, project managers must be responsible for reaching out to the customer using their preferred communication method. Even if you have to deliver unfortunate news, the client will appreciate your transparency and quick action.
Benefits of Increased Video or In-Person Communication
Scheduling more frequent meetings with clients can help them fully understand the scope of their project and keep them informed about any potential roadblocks, but there are more subtle advantages of increasing communication with your customers, too. If you want to strengthen client relationships with your brand, connecting with them face-to-face (or via video calls) on a regular basis can:
- Help you better identify the customer’s needs.
- Allow you to gain additional insights by observing body language and other nonverbal cues.
- Improve your brand’s trustworthiness and credibility.
- Increase client retention rates.
- Make sure each of your clients understands how important their needs are to you.
Next time you begin a new relationship with a client, prioritize their understanding of the project throughout every step of the timeline by scheduling more meetings and sending update messages whenever a possible problem or question arises. Your customers will be sure to appreciate the unique personal touch of your company!