It Takes Two to Tango: Closing the Loop on Client Communications
At MOB Media, we have always prided ourselves on customer service and critical open communication with our clients. It’s why we have piles of happy client testimonials and how the client referrals we get are the majority of our business. But when new prospects who are unfamiliar with us have a priority for communication, how do we prove it in real time?
This precise scenario recently developed and I found myself asking that exact question. Besides lip-service, how can I prove to this prospective client that our customer service and open communications are in the top 10% of all businesses? And does that mean anything when you consider the state of the service industry lately? You only have to call your cable operator or DirecTV (thanks AT&T) to comprehend how poor customer service has become. But beyond that, I’ve experienced horrible service with companies like Hertz (they’ve lost my whole families business) and the Gas Co. So it runs the gamut. I’m sure those companies are telling their clients and customers that they have great communication and premium customer service too.
So again, how do we prove it?
This got me thinking… perhaps we need to:
- • Ask the client their expectations (DUH!)
- • Define their preferred way to communicate
- • Question how often do they want to hear from us
- • Find out how they would like their reporting
- • Ask what is most critical to them and why etc.
Then we prove through case studies or testimonials that we can and have handled these requirements and demonstrate with each and every engagement we have with them. In theory, that should work. In practice, what a prospect or client says they want and what they truly want are often two different things. There’s the “Ah Ha” moment.
Often times when a client asks for this, what they’re really asking for is will we respond to everything they communicate at lightning fast speed, despite the fact, that they may not respond back to complete the communications loop. As most people know, it takes two to tango and communication cannot be effective if only one side is participating. But before you think I’m railing against clients, read on.
The real challenge goes back to another blog I wrote on how marketing directors and the like on the client-side have begun to hire more and more agencies thus fragmenting their responsibilities, which is steadily increasing the workload for these folks. Multiple emails, reports, dashboard logins, texts and phone conversations with seven different agencies or service providers in one day will drive anyone to drink or, more specifically, to not always follow-up on responses. We as agencies have to realize we’re competing for time. And besides, who has the time to digest all of that information let alone respond to it all? But, on the other hand, agencies can’t do our job without aforementioned communication.
Solution? It’s not a simple answer.
- • A start would be to put more faith and authority with your agency.
- • Let them do their job and report to you in a transparent manner. If they don’t report to you, then you have the wrong agency.
- • Make them explain what they send and why it’s important.
- • Hold them to the fire on results.
- • Don’t ask for all the information if you’re not going to read it, it clutters your inbox and takes valuable time away from the agency performing the work for you.
And again, maybe consider cutting down on your stable of shops and go with one or two that can handle the work holistically. It certainly is easier to have honest communication with a few than with the many.