Agency and client collaboration is critical to keeping your best customers happy and willing to renew services. Marketing agencies can take it a step further by providing more comprehensive project details, communication best practices, and even involving clients from the start.
When running a marketing agency, it’s very easy to prioritize your resources, time, and effort into your clients’ “wow” projects.
In turn, you become more lenient around agency-client collaboration processes.
To ensure you stand out from the crowd, it’s important to go beyond simply maintaining an agency-client relationship.
It’s not enough to be the best agency in the business anymore, clients want to be part of the process. After all, it’s their projects too!
No client will be excited to work with you again if they didn’t have a great experience with previous projects. There are hundreds of agencies out there who can offer what you can’t, which is why having a solid collaboration process in place is vital in today’s agency space.
We’ve put together this list of the five best tips we’ve learned from working with agency-type clients here at Teamwork.
Here’s what you can do right now.
All good relationships need a solid foundation. That’s why developing a comprehensive onboarding process should be the first step in your agency-client relationship.
To ensure the best collaboration possible, an onboarding process makes everything clear about the specifics of a client project, including:
Nailing the specifics from the beginning gets everyone on the same page and helps build trust between both parties.
Agencies that nurture client relationships understand what makes their client unique. Then they can leverage those insights to create and execute the best possible project.
Investing in work management software like Teamwork allows agencies to build stronger client collaboration relationships from the start.
With Teamwork’s client onboarding template, you can create tailored onboarding experiences that give everyone a strong foundation to work from and help new clients feel confident that your agency was the right choice.
Plus, with unlimited client users, you include your clients in the platform for better collaboration, project visibility, and an overall productive experience, all at no additional cost.
These simple things provide your clients with the best experiences that ultimately get them to come back again and again.
With so many moving parts, it’s hard to know who is responsible for what is in each project. Add multiple projects under one team and things suddenly get tricky.
There are going to be people on both sides who need to be involved in each stage of the collaboration process. However, not everyone needs to be involved all of the time.
Depending on the project, there are individuals that are always-on collaborators, while others are passive contributors.
For example, let’s look at what is needed for a rebrand marketing campaign. You likely have several key stakeholders from the marketing team such as brand and product marketers. These folks would be the always-on collaborators.
Passive contributors might include the CEO, COO, or co-founders of the company. While they don’t necessarily need all the ins and outs of the work, they will need to be key decision-makers.
Setting clear points of contact for each project will have a positive impact on collaboration and communication while also reducing bottlenecks.
Every working relationship has expectations, needs, and wants. Agency-client relationships are no different from doing online business or serving customers
In many situations, expectations help drive projects forward, set directions for the work, and assist the creative process for your team.
But when the expectations break down, judgment comes down to an assumption that the other party has correctly understood the wants and needs.
If these expectations are not properly communicated, understood, or managed, it leads to a damaged relationship between your agency and your client. Most importantly, it can result in the loss of that client.
To correctly manage expectations, it’s important to fully document the needs and wants of your client and communicate them regularly. Set the expectations early in the process, ensure that they are realistic for your team to accomplish.
If that means regularly revisiting those decisions in check-in calls with account managers, then so be it., It’s so important to keep comprehensive records of every step of the project and ensure all lines of communication are open.
Different clients have various expectations of how to communicate with your agency.
Some love a hands-off approach, allowing your agency to work how you want with limited interactions.
Other clients get a bit carried away expecting constant updates or within-a-minute response times, even when you’re in a different timezone.
We’ve all been there. So, what’s the solution? You need to outline communication methods for your clients.
Having the correct tools to manage the lines of communication is essential. But with automated services for out-of-hours requests, you ensure clients understand that a response won’t be instantaneous.
SimpleTexting offers away messages, a feature that turns on an automated response when a client tries to contact your employees outside of working hours. Having a barrier as simple as an automated response takes out the awkwardness of repeating communication expectations.
Now you have a simpler way to get your clients to acknowledge the set guidelines and timelines for responses.
Another great benefit of SimpleTexting is virtual phone numbers, which allows your employees to avoid sharing their personal information with clients. The messages can all come from one platform, right from your desktop, laptop, even your mobile device.
For incoming emails, Teamwork Desk offers business hours. Similar to SimpleTexting’s away messages, you can map your company business hours as a variable paired with canned responses and auto-replies.
This lets customers know when your team will be able to address requests.
For all marketing collaboration efforts, it’s often difficult (or even taxing) to keep up with documenting or communicating all the information of a process.
Anytime something is released for a client, such as a blog post, include client communications in your checklist for release. Send them an update with the keyword targeted, the link for the blog, and the expected outcomes.
Baking communication into your collaboration process gives clients confidence in your agency.
Make it a point to document all key processes, communications, or collaborative efforts for a more streamlined and strategic workflow. Doing this over email simply isn’t sufficient,
However, using a centralized hub for your team and clients to access helps keep all parties on the same page. Tools like the Google Suite, Teamwork Spaces, or Confluence would help here.
And lastly, be sure to celebrate any successes with your clients. Great communication is also being able to talk about the wins to excite your clients.
Have you completed a major project early? Reached the annual target earlier than expected?
Include your client in the celebration, the collaboration processes you’ve put in place have ensured that they worked together to make this happen.
Setting and maintaining boundaries from the get-go creates realistic expectations and allows you to better manage multiple projects at the same time.
It’s all about making life easier for both you and the client, so nobody’s left in the dark. Implement our five tips to ensure a smooth-running collaboration process and keep your clients returning.
Nancy Mai Harnett is a Partner Marketing Specialist at Teamwork, heading up the affiliate and referral programs. She is a successful entrepreneur with her own agency, Nudge Marketing, and in her spare time is a proud dog mom.More Posts from Nancy Harnett
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