How to train your clients

OK so that sounds like a weird title for this blog but trust me it’s not, so please read on. I want to share with you some of the client management mistakes I made when I ran my agency, and my key learnings over the years (so you don’t make the same mistakes!).

So there are 3 key reasons why we want to manage our clients effectively

  1. To retain them for the long term and be as profitable as possible;
  2. To earn additional revenues by selling additional services;
  3. Create a strong happy relationship between us and the client

Fundamentally this means we need to be great at managing their expectations.  We all know its way cheaper to retain and grow existing clients than it is to find new ones.  Yet sometimes our best efforts to keep a client happy leads them to be dissatisfied and leave us.  Read on to find out why.

To effectively manage client expectations, we need to have clearly understood service levels that are well understood both internally, with the team delivering the client work and with our customer.

To achieve this, we need to get our service levels right from day one.  How often do you feel: “I need to do an amazing job to impress this new client, so they stick with me for the long term”.  This tends to translate to:

  1. Doing whatever the clients asks so they ‘love’ me
  2. Creating a rod for your own back since we have set the benchmark high and need to keep delivering at this level – even though we are over servicing!
  3. The client keeps asking for more but without wanting to pay additional fees for it

Sound familiar?

I remember when my agency (CIT PR) won its first few clients.  We were super excited and since we had the capacity, we did whatever we could to keep them happy (i.e. always say YES and over service them).

Ironically, we actually achieved the reverse of what we were hoping for.  By continually saying YES to the client, they didn’t really respect our time or what we were doing for them and this led them to not always being happy with our levels of service – they had completely forgotten what we had agreed at the outset and how much they were paying us.  This also made it really hard to raise our fees with them and guess what, as we won more clients and got busier, we started to resent these early clients because they were our lowest fee payers but took up more of our time in order to keep them happy!  Something had to change……

So here are 5 tips I learned (and share with my clients)

  1. Create a clearly understood, documented and agreed scope of work with the client and ensure all team members understand what is and isn’t included
  2. Be willing to over service plus or minus 10%
  3. As soon as the client asks for something outside the scope (or +10%) then have discussions with them about additional costs OR dropping something that has previously been agreed in the scope
  4. Talk VALUE and OUTCOMES with the client rather than TIME (download my free eBook on value pricing and selling to learn more)
  5. Report and communicate regularly (ideally monthly) with the client about progress against agreed scope of work (and discuss any deviations)

And a bonus 6thtip…..

  1. Don’t bury your head in the sand if something isn’t going well – address it as soon as possible and work with your client to find a solution

This is a big topic and I am super excited to be launching a new mastermind course on client & account management in February.  This is a hybrid online course, delivered over 4 weeks and gives access to me via an exclusive closed members group. If you would like to be the first the hear more about the course, and how it can help you and your team then enter your details below and be the first to hear about the launch of the course and exclusive offers.

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