“Treat your customers like lifetime partners”
The average client – consultancy relationship is said to last 3.2 years according to The Drum News. However, here at BDB we are pleased to say that some of our clients have been with us for over 30 years, so we must be doing something right. We love working with our clients, and we believe that there is no reason why companies cannot continue building strong work relationships over many years. Here we offer a few of our top tips on how to create long-standing and effective working relationships.
Communication is key
Being able to listen and understand a client is crucial within consultancy life. Having an open dialogue is one of the most important elements to building a strong working relationship, and can ultimately mean the difference between an impactful campaign and one that falls flat. Successful partnerships are largely based on transparent communication that helps deliver the right results.
Laura Stoker, Account Manager at BDB, puts this at the top of her list when interacting with clients: “Good client relationships centre for me on the ability to have open and honest conversations. Whether that is about the direction for a campaign or something as simple as whether a deadline is achievable, it’s important to establish a good dialogue from an early stage, to foster a mutual respect and improve ways of working.”
Focus on face-to-face
According to The Entrepreneur, 26% of employees think email is a major productivity killer. In a fast-paced office environment, it is easy to rely purely on this form of communication when interacting with clients. Although there is a place for email, face-to-face communication can be hugely beneficial for any relationship.
Jenny McParland, Account Executive at BDB, discusses what her experience has taught her: “I think it’s really important to put a face to a name, so my advice would be to move away from emails and try to have as many face-to-face meetings as possible. For me, this really solidifies relationships and makes things a lot more personal.”
Becoming an integrated part of a client team
It is important to really know your client and understand the industry in which they operate, so you can support them in the best way possible. A common method is to immerse yourself in a client’s workplace. Some of our team members work from client offices during the week, which provides additional support on projects and speeds up the decision-making process. However, you do not need to work in the client’s office to achieve this. Regular update calls and Skype sessions are another great way to become more closely aligned with a client team.
Emma Simms, Account Manager at BDB, talks about the benefits of becoming integrated with a client team: “Working from a client’s office can make a huge difference to account productivity. Communication becomes more effective and you begin to build upon your existing working relationship. I’m also a big advocate of Skype, as it allows for instant responses to queries, helping to progress projects quickly.”
To stay ahead of the game, consultancies need to be creative. Businesses increasingly require more creative thinking when forming a solid strategy. Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes, meaning you do not have to be an artist or designer, all you need is an open mind and a good understanding of the client.
Janine McCarthy, Senior Production Executive at BDB, interprets creativity as: “Using your imagination to construct a visual representation of a client’s ideas and brief. Being able to listen to a client and fully absorb what they require from a project is one of the best skills to have. But you also need to think innovatively to develop a creative strategy and help your clients stay competitive in an increasingly saturated market space.”
Think about the future
Developing a good work relationship with clients takes time and commitment from both sides, but is well worth it. At BDB, we value our relationships above all else and strive to add value, listen, provide counsel and deliver on our promises.
If you are looking for an international full-service b2b marketing consultancy you can rely on, get in touch at [email protected].
References upon request