When agencies and clients work well together, it’s a beautiful thing. According to a study by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), 74 percent of clients agreed that their creative agencies are integral to their success. Agencies share the same sentiment. They realize that clients play a role in their long-term success and reputation.
The key to a happy, productive agency-client relationship is communication. Regular, positive interactions strengthen rapports, improve productivity, and increase results. Poor communication, on the other hand, can lead to failed projects, financial loses and dissatisfaction with the company as a whole.
So, is the solution to a great business relationship constant communication? Not at all. Just as there are problems associated with too little communication, there are issues with too much communication. After all, you don’t want to become a pain to your clients!
Let’s look at the specific challenges associated with too much or too little communication, and how to find the perfect balance for your own clients.
Issues with Under-Communicating
It’s frustrating when someone in your personal life doesn’t communicate effectively. How are you supposed to know what they need or want? The same is true in the business world. If you and your clients aren’t interacting regularly, how are you supposed to know what they’re thinking?
One of the biggest symptoms of under-communication is confused or anxious clients. As a result, they overcompensate by providing massive amounts of information (which is likely to be of no use to you). Or, they may be the first to reach out, requesting updates on the project or confirmations that you received a previous email or phone call.
Issues with Over-Communicating
It’s possible to have too much of a good thing. By sending too many messages to your clients, they can end up feeling overwhelmed. After all, you are the agency, and you should know what you’re doing. Seeking constant approval from your client can send the message that you’re not confident or competent enough to make the right decisions.
While most agencies would never intend to send this message on purpose, it can be easily done through channels like email, text, or private messaging. Rather than sending five emails in a week, it’s better to set up one phone call and discuss the details then.
Tips for Balancing Communications
Communication is a skill. This means that it can be learned and improved upon. Here are a few tips for tackling client communication collaboratively and effectively.
Be consistent. Set some type of limit that clients can expect a response from you, such as 24 hours or less, unless it’s an emergency.
Be timely. Limits are good for establishing boundaries, but you should still strive to follow up as quickly as possible. Even if you can’t chat at the moment, let the client know you received their message.
Be clear. When delivering information, talk in simple, easy-to-understand language. At the end of the phone call or email, ask if the client has additional questions/concerns.
Be open and honest. It’s okay to be honest as long as you are polite and sincere. If conflict does arise, take the emotion out of the problem and address the facts.
With regular, balanced communication, you can enjoy long-standing relationships with clients, improved projects, and a better bottom line. Better yet, you don’t have to feel stressed or uncertain and neither do your clients!