Client service – what is it and why does it matter?
At AMBITIOUS, we talk a lot about client service.
It’s important to us, essential even. Top-notch client service is in the very fabric of what we do. As an agency, you can deliver great results but without good client service, your clients will always feel short-changed.
But what does it actually mean? What is client service anyway and why does it matter?
To us, client service is based on relationships. It’s a two-way stream between agency and client, building mutual respect, and trust, and finding ways of working that suit everyone. When we get it right, the result is a constructive, productive and happy working partnership, for all.
Good client service goes beyond being helpful and responsive. That’s the least they should expect from you. For us, it goes much deeper – it’s about commitment, accountability, transparency, being proactive, problem-solving, and always finding ways to do things better.
Investing time upfront with clients is a big part of making this work. We want to get to know them as people and understand what makes them tick and what success looks like for them. How we work with a busy marketing manager in a corporate setting can look quite different to the needs of an owner-manager working on the coal face.
While some will have their heads in the detail, others will just want the top line. They will have different needs and expectations. Identifying this at an early stage in a client/agency relationship and investing in ways to meet these needs can make all the difference.
When client service hits the mark, the outcome is invariably a long-lasting and fruitful relationship between agency and client. This is what we all want, don’t we? You become a team – succeeding together and when challenges come to the fore, you can work through them together.
It’s not rocket science, but we are passionate about getting this right.
Putting pen to paper
At AMBITIOUS, we have decided to put into words our commitment to client service. We have published a Client Charter.
Based on our company values:
people matter most,
we own it,
influence with integrity
– we have created a charter which spells out our aspirations and commitments to our clients. Call it a service level agreement if you like, but a little more engaging 😉
We own it
Take, for example, ‘we own it’. This focuses on accountability. Whether things are going really well or less well, we always welcome open, honest and frank discussions with our clients. We don’t operate a traditional agency hierarchy. So, clients always have an open door to our senior team. If clients have a question or concern they can raise it – we work it through and resolve the issues.
We own it by making sure that where there is a job to be done, the member of the team with the most appropriate experience takes it on (simples, no?). Everyone understands their role on a project, they understand what they are accountable for and know where they can get extra help and support.
We agree on a plan (yes, there is ALWAYS a plan) and a set of KPIs for every project. Clients know what to expect from us and can measure performance against metrics that we agree on together. It won’t look the same for every client – it could be a goal to increase reach, the share of voice, amplify a particular message or for others the focus can be around supporting issues or crisis response.
We deliver on time and to budget. If there are any barriers to this happening, our clients will know about it BEFORE there is an issue. And we’ll work together to find another way.
It was important to us to write this down. By publishing our Client Charter, we want to show that we mean business. We want our team to understand and buy into the process. And we want to make our commitments to our clients something tangible.
Take a look and tell us what you think at [email protected].