How many times, as an agency owner, have you been advised to stay out of the day-to-day of client work? Probably more than once. Scaling an agency requires owners to hire the right people, provide appropriate levels of leadership and then get out of the way to allow their team to do what they were hired to do – manage and grow client relationships.
But that doesn’t mean you should be some mysterious figure to your clients; never to be seen or heard from again after you win the business. It’s surprising how often that happens – not necessarily by design, but suddenly you may realize you can’t remember the last time you had any contact with your clients.
I get it, you’re busy running the shop, chasing down new opportunities, handling a myriad of things that seem to take up more time than they should. It’s easy to lose visibility with those who signed on to have your agency help them meet their marketing challenges.
Hopefully, you have rockstar account managers who are delighting clients and working with the rest of the team to deliver results that matter. And while that’s fantastic, always remember it’s your agency that’s delivering – you’ve set forth a clear vision and built an enterprise that’s sought after because of that vision. And that’s why you need to show your face occasionally to those who have placed their trust in the agency. They need to realize the agency is more than just that rockstar account manager … it’s an entire team of smart, marketing specialists creating results. And you need to make sure they know you care and appreciate the opportunity they’ve given the agency.
I know, you’re wondering where you’ll find the time.
Here’s how. Create a touchpoint matrix. Much the same way as you’d develop content or editorial calendar, map out a year’s worth of occasions you’ll engage a client in purposeful and meaningful ways.
- First, determine the most appropriate person in the client organization who should hear from you. Depending on the size of the client, you may want to reach a level up from the day-to-day client contact.
- Second, decide on the frequency of those touchpoints – some clients may merit more contact than others. At the least, maintain a quarterly presence.
By locking these touchpoints into your calendar you’re more likely to stay on task. Assign someone to help you manage this; perhaps your assistant, or the agency’s traffic manager who can build it into the workflow.
So, what should those touchpoints be? Variety is key. Here are 10 ways you can show some love to your clients and the benefits of doing so.
- Simply say “thank you” for the business. Say it in a handwritten note. This can be the most profitable business strategy you have in your arsenal. Think about it from your own perspective. We all want to feel appreciated by those we do business with … from the dry cleaner to our attorney. It’s proven that when you say thank you, clients are likely to spend more money, refer you to others and maintain loyalty.
- Schedule a coffee or lunch meeting a couple of times a year. Use this occasion to ask, “how are we doing for you … “tell me what we can improve on” … “what’s keeping you up at night.” These are times where you may be able to head off a potential problem, or better yet, identify other opportunities.
- Invite your client to participate in a panel discussion with you about customer service, or what’s impacting the local economy, etc. Engaging with them on a peer-to-peer level where they can share their expertise alongside you and others from the business community can lead to a stronger bond.
- Find specific content to share via email or better yet, traditional mail. Add a note that links it to your understanding of their business drivers and what’s impacting their sector. This emphasizes your awareness of the challenges facing them that have nothing to do with the work your agency does for them.
- Learn what charities they support and send a personal check to them along with a handwritten note.
- If you have a podcast, invite them to be a guest or a contributor to your agency’s blog. You’re recognizing their expertise and giving them a forum to showcase it.
- Form a business roundtable that meets throughout the year and invite them to take a seat. Connect them with others they may not know otherwise.
- Acknowledge their accomplishments – signal your awareness of those times and offer congratulations.
- Share privileged reports or whitepapers you receive from your bankers, attorney or other key relationships that contain information that would be valuable to them from either a business or personal perspective.
- If your agency takes on a community support project – such as Habitat for Humanity, serving meals at a homeless shelter once a month, environmental clean-up days, etc. – ask them to join you and your team. Maybe your agency asks for local non-profits to submit a proposal to have your agency provide pro-bono marketing services – invite them to be on the evaluation committee.
You don’t need to be in the weeds of day-to-day contact to ensure each one of your agency’s clients know you’re keenly aware of the work being carried out for them, and more importantly that you place the highest priority on the relationship and appreciate the business. It also underlines that the agency is more than just that rockstar account manager; it’s an entire team operating under your leadership that’s dedicated to delivering measurable impact on their business.