Client Relationships: Tips to Build Long-Lasting Ones
Building strong client relationships is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort. In this final installment of our series, we provide valuable tactics to enhance collaborative client relationships.
Moving Beyond Order Taking
It’s common for creatives to feel that clients view them as mere ticket-takers. To shape creative strategy and go beyond executing marketing requests, you must demonstrate that your team offers strategic contributions that exceed client expectations. Here’s a three-step process to achieve that:
1. Understand your client’s business goals: Regularly inquire about their overall business objectives, not just specific assignments. Ask questions like, “What are your team’s sales goals this quarter?”, “Which inventory overstock needs attention?”, and “How can we address competitive threats or innovations?”. Remember, you’re not just a designer; you’re a business partner.
2. Follow up on key performance indicators (KPIs): Show a genuine interest in the results. Did the work you produced help your client achieve their goals? Ask questions such as, “Have orders increased?”, “How has on-site conversion improved since we implemented responsive design?”, and “Did you meet the quarterly sales goals?”.
3. Conduct competitive research: Play an active role in collecting and sharing your client’s competitors’ communication and design strategies. Then discuss how you can outperform them across various deliverables.
Let Them In
Effective alignment between teams stems from shared knowledge. Educate your customers about your creative workflow by providing them with a chart that outlines the process. Highlight their involvement in stages like requesting and approving work, and make them aware of potential project roadblocks.
Another way to expose clients to your world is through “lunch and learns.” Arrange meetings where clients and creatives come together to share best practices. Discuss topics like providing more thorough and effective project requests (e.g., creative briefs) and offering feedback on proofs. Also, share design techniques and current trends while maintaining brand standards.
Learn From Each Other
These meetings provide an excellent opportunity for clients to discover the full extent of your capabilities. If you find that your team is often assigned repetitive tasks while external vendors handle more glamorous projects, it might be because your clients are unaware of your capabilities. Remember, learning and sharing is a two-way street. Build trust with your clients and encourage them to share information about pain points, industry insights, target audiences, and competitors. This shared knowledge can drive your design and communication strategy.
Look for opportunities to understand each other’s processes and motivations.
Make Your Client Relationships Fun
Yahoo’s creative team implemented an innovative approach to educating their clients through lunch-and-learn sessions. They utilized a chargeback model, where brand managers and product managers make requests and accept charges to their individual profit and loss statements (P&Ls). To encourage participation, clients who attended these sessions received “purple bucks,” which they could use to “buy” creative services. This approach not only increased attendance but also added value to both parties, fostering a more cohesive working relationship.
In conclusion, building long-lasting and successful client relationships goes beyond being order takers. It involves demonstrating strategic contributions, staying engaged with client goals, conducting competitive research, and sharing knowledge through education and collaboration. By following these steps, you can foster alignment, learn from each other, and create more enjoyable business relationships. Yahoo’s creative team exemplifies how finding creative ways to make the relationship fun and rewarding can further enhance the bond between you and your clients. Ultimately, investing in client relationships yields mutual benefits and paves the way for continued success.
Are you looking to strengthen your brand by streamlining workflows and harmonizing all brand collateral under a single, uniform platform? Lytho has just what you need. Feel free to reach out to us by scheduling a demo. We look forward to speaking with you!