Thursday, July 19, 2018

4 strategies to ensure your clients trust your team

People who get along just work together more efficiently.

You have to be proactive to develop a strong company culture that fosters collaboration, trust, and productivity. The same goes for a solid agency-client relationship.

A strained relationship within your team—or with a client—will inevitably lead to frustration, or worse, a lost customer. If they don’t trust that you can't accomplish what you promised, they may not even give you the space you need to work.

[RELATED: Join us for our 10th anniversary of the Employee Communications, PR& Social Media Summit at Microsoft]

What are some of the indicators of a client-agency relationship gone sour?

  • Constant check-ins or hovering to monitor progress
  • Missed deadlines
  • Passive-aggressive emails, or lack of response to emails
  • Client blames team or team blames the client

If you see any of these symptoms, there may be a lack of trust between your team and your client.

Here is how to ensure that all your clients trust your agency, right from the start:

1. Offer testimonials from previous clients.

No one can speak more truthfully about your service than one of your previous customers.

Get in the habit of asking previous clients for testimonials once you have completed a project to their satisfaction. You can post these on your website or share them with new customers as you onboard them to build trust from the start.

2. Provide transparency in your work from day one.

Every client is different. Some may want to be hands-off after the first meeting. Some may never get off your back. No matter what, you need to establish a clear line of communication between the client and your team from the first day.

If possible, organize a meeting between your client and the whole team that will be working with them. You may not always be available to mediate the conversation, so your client should know who to communicate with if needed. Provide your client with an overview of your organizational structure and introduce them to all team members individually.

Having a personal relationship with all clients will immediately strengthen their trust in you, as you are no longer a faceless entity, but a team of motivated individuals.

3. Create a culture of asking questions.

Everyone needs to feel as if they can contribute their ideas and insights to the discussion. As the manager, get in the habit of organizing one-on-one meetings with team members to learn about the challenges they are facing. This practice will in turn encourage teams to listen more attentively to clients.

Your clients are people too, so establish a personal relationship with them that goes beyond work. Don’t be afraid to ask about their hobbies, families or interests. If your client sees you as a person who wants to help them, rather than a company going after their money, they will be more inclined to trust you.

4. Meet your deadlines.

Nothing will ruin a client-agency relationship faster than a missed deadline, especially if you do not send along an explanation. Communicate early and frequently with your clients if you will not be able to achieve the tasks they asked of you. They need to be able to plan and they rely on you to provide services on time to keep their business running smoothly.

If you must miss a deadline, consider throwing in a small extra service for free. Going the extra mile on a project can often generate client loyalty and prove your dedication to serving them.

Clients also have an equal responsibility to meet deadlines they set with you. When a client misses a deadline, your team must rush to finish a project at the last minute, which can lead to tension between the two parties.

Work with your client from the beginning to create a culture of respect and mutual recognition of the importance of deadlines. Neither team can work efficiently if the other party is not holding up their half of the bargain.

A healthy relationship with clients starts with your organization. Establish a healthy and collaborative company culture that encourages employees to go above and beyond to serve your clients. Happy teams make happy customers.

Albizu Garcia is the Co-Founder and CEO of GAIN, a tool that automates the social publishing workflow for agencies and anyone working in teams. Follow him @albizu

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