Clicking with clients!
As a creative agency, we’re no stranger to honouring client requests. After all, they’re the ones paying for the work – we have no choice! In all seriousness, no agency could survive without the strong support and feedback of its clients.
There are so many benefits to working closely with clients, so we thought we’d go over them. We’re not just being cheesy by saying the client is at the heart of our business – it’s the truth! And if you work in a marketing or brand agency, you’ll need to understand this too.
What do agencies need from their clients?
Client feedback can come in many forms – verbal meetings, online discussions or email dialogues. It can give your creative or marketing agency the feedback they need, and even pre-emptively switch up the direction you’re heading so that you don’t waste unnecessary time flogging a dead horse. The client is the one who needs to be satisfied with what you provide, so it’s important that you keep their advice close to heart.
Additionally, you’ll also be able to adequately prioritise tasks, as you’ll have a better understanding of the type of work they’re looking for and new deadlines that arise – (which always do) client’s businesses tend to move fast! You’ll then be able to work more efficiently on your tasks and resources in order of importance. This has the added benefit of preventing those panicked ‘we need this in three days, can you do it?’ moments!
How to work closely with your clients
So, that sounds good so far, but how do you work towards these targets? Think about these 6 points to ensure that you foster a good relationship with your clients.
1. Make communication easy
If it’s not quick and easy for your client to contact you, they won’t. Consider assigning someone for the client to come to as a dedicated point of contact. You might also want to provide contact details and give the client several ways to reach you. By being quick to reply, you’ll break down any barriers between you.
The Identity Agency uses client Slack channels for this – which is a group chat between everyone at the agency working on their project, and everyone at the client’s business, making both parties responsible for overseeing progress.
2. Set milestones (and meet them!)
A client will be engaged in a project when they’re seeing progress happen before their very eyes. Keeping to timelines and asking for feedback on any changes are also very effective ways of collaborating.
The best policy is to under-promise. If you know you’ll be able to meet a milestone in two weeks time, set the client’s expectations that it will be three weeks. This way, you have more time to improve the concept before asking for feedback and a client will be impressed at the speed you managed to deliver it (if you deliver it early!)
3. Include task owners in communication
The team members responsible for each task should be clued in on relevant client exchanges. Telling them early will ensure they can deal with any arising changes, which will improve the overall clarity of communication.
You have the ability to set practical expectations on all sides – the client will understand any limitations of the scope, and therefore have more realistic expectations of the final product.
To help with this, the Identity Agency uses ClickUp for managing tasks. We allow our clients to access this as well, so they can get a realtime view of project progress.
4. Share progress reports
The more information you share with your clients, the better collaboration. Sharing regular reports keeps everyone up to date, and encourages participation.
Asking their thoughts at every step of the way means fewer last-minute revisions, and allows you less time wasted on following a path that ultimately leads nowhere fruitful.
5. Respond constructively
Your clients are looking for a professional level of communication, so getting angry or picking fights with their suggestions isn’t the best way of going about things. Have responsible discussions over disagreements.
Sometimes, a client can have differing opinions when you feel like you’ve produced a masterpiece. Let it go – remember who pays who! That’s happened to us once or twice, and if we’re really not happy with the end result, we’ll just leave it out of our portfolio, so you’ll never know!
6. Turn feedback into tasks
Give feedback priority, by giving it a deadline or status. Then, you can add it to the project right away.
You’ll wind up saving your clients time and money (and yourself!) as you’ll have the ability to quickly solve small problems as they arise, rather than waiting for them to get too big to deal with later on.
Okay, thanks for reading!
We’ve covered how to work effectively with clients. You should be wary of keeping in contact with them regularly so they can suggest any additions or revisions. By working closely with them and keeping them in the loop, you save more work in the long run by having to make major last-minute changes.