February 13, 2014
At the core of every successful media relations campaign lies exceptional client servicing, which can make all the difference in the client-PR agency relationship. While every client comes with a unique set of nuances we must learn to navigate, there are still fundamental concepts and behaviors that can make or break a relationship with a client. To ensure you’re taking your client servicing skills from good to great, take note of these behaviors embodied by the LEWIS team:
All relationships thrive on mutual trust and in PR it is critical to lay this foundation from the beginning of a campaign. To do so, account management teams must hold each other accountable to meet deadlines, be responsive, communicate frequently and demonstrate a sharp intellect and willingness to produce exceptional results right out of the gate.
At any stage of a PR campaign, clients count on us to produce results, but many agencies drop the ball by delivering quantity vs. quality. In other words, producing results that matters most to the client and its business. To ensure this need is met, account teams must check in regularly to ensure campaign efforts align with internal priorities, which shifts from quarter to quarter. As such, dedicate time to brainstorm fresh ideas in quarterly review meetings with the client, engage with the client regularly for company updates and update the PR campaign goals and deliverables as needed.
At LEWIS, employees at every level are encouraged to provide strategic counsel to clients on everything from press releases to bylines. No matter what the PR goal is, we are the experts and the eyes and ears for our client. In order to stand out in the crowd, show your team’s value in the form of strategic guidance, recommendations and thoughtful insights into the topics and industry your client serves. Make it a part of every communication and meeting.
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Many agencies will take to doing whatever the client wants to make them happy but that is not what exceptional client servicing is about. Communicating boundaries at the beginning of a project or campaign and setting expectations based on your expertise is not only critical to fostering a positive relationship but important to the health of the company. Draining your resources by over-servicing and saying ‘yes’ to every demand strains employees, the client relationship and the agency’s business. For the most effective partnership, the PR team and client need to set goals and expectations before diving in head first.
Don’t let this short list fool you: Five-star client servicing takes guts, creativity, transparency, tenacity and other qualities that every agency should demonstrate. However, these top four will set your agency and account team above the rest, making your clients and your business happier in the long-run.