But you know what? Some of the clients we’ve worked on in the past have probably done exactly the same thing with their new agencies coming in. Oops.
Whether we make a fundamental cock-up or just let things tick along, we shouldn’t be too surprised when clients leave us for pastures new. It doesn’t always have to be this way though! We can (and should) do more to keep our current clients happy.
What’s the big deal with keeping clients happy?
Even though they can often be a pain in the arse (admit it…), some of our clients can be incredibly valuable to the agency, and the direct financial benefit is only part of this.
A happy client can lead to many wonderful things. Not only will they feel like you truly care about their business, but developing this level of trust can mean opening the door to more exciting projects. You know, the ones we like to shout about in our industry. Hello shiny new awards!
We can also benefit from using client logos and testimonials on our websites and marketing materials. These endorsements can help us to bring in new clients without some of the costs of acquiring and warming leads from no previous contact. Think along the lines of everything from marketing, to buying meals, drinks, and other soft forms of bribery.
So let’s think about how we can maintain our client relationships, instead of being complacent with simply replacing them…
Common ways our clients lose trust
But first, what is it that we’re actually doing wrong? It could be something that we’re not even entirely aware of, or it could be down to our current approach of working with clients from acquisition through to delivery.
Ever heard a client say that they felt like a small fish in a big pond when working with their previous agency? I’ve heard this from clients who weren’t even working with a big agency, but they got the impression of “churn and burn”.
Trust seems to go out of the window when we do what I’d describe as normal agency things. We get busy and forget the odd client call or meeting, or we send someone in our place. Swapping staff seems pretty common, but how many times will a client understand when their account goes from exec to exec?
Junior members of the team play their part, but a client might not trust them as much as experienced folk; the lack of strategic direction and maturity handling issues can be the biggest problems here.
Another way to lose trust is missing common website issues that your competitors will be keen to point out to your client, so doing regular audits and checks is important.
You might only notice that your relationship with a client has began to slide when any combination of these warning signs show that there might be an issue:
- New users being added to Google products (Analytics, Google Search Console, etc.)
- Specific questions which are out of line with all previous communications
- New client contact raising questions about work previously conducted
Basically, you don’t want to get to this point! Make sure to take action with your clients now to avoid having to fight to keep them on board.
Keep your clients happy
So what can you actually do for the projects that are not really delivering anything special for you or your client? Cover the basics first (these are the areas your competitors will look to catch you out on!).
Get your clients’ websites to a technical happy place, making sure that there’s nothing too dodgy going on, whether through backlinks or on-page tactics. Know what their competitors are doing, and how other influences affect traffic and conversions.
Strive to teach your clients more about the work you do, and anything that complements it. Provide some training workshops free-of-charge alongside the other work you’re doing; it’ll help them to understand the value of it better.
Sometimes we expect our clients to follow exactly what we say, but we’re likely to be much more informed than they are, considering that we’re actively involved in digital marketing on a full time basis.
Not only this, but communication couldn’t be more important when it comes to your ongoing relationships with your clients. Try and find a way to contact your clients that fits in with their own preferences, rather than trying to force them into using whatever tool your agency prefers. If there is a barrier at the beginning, it will continue to be a barrier going forwards.
Whether you need a good old face-to-face meeting, a phone call, or use something new-fangled like Slack, do what makes each client happy.
However, the overriding theme is that you need a strategy. Everything else is just a vehicle to deliver and maintain it. Remember that it will need to be re-evaluated and updated as you discover what works and what doesn’t; this clarity will guide you better and make the client feel more involved more too.