Client relationships aren’t built to last if you never challenge the status quo and always let your desire to please rule over your expertise. Here’s how your unadulterated kindness is killing your campaigns.
1 – Sending Novels Over Email
You want your client to know exactly how hard you have been working on their campaign, so you send an email with all the micro details of what’s been happening since you last spoke. Mistake. Clients are often incredibly busy and opening your mammoth email is likely to overwhelm them. All they really want is this;
– A concise overview of the work carried out
– The results of the work you carried out
– What happens next (e.g. the next actions to take, who it involves and a deadline for this)
You may think you’re carefully crafted email is doing them a favour, but it’s not. Keep emails concise, action oriented and leaving the client in no doubt of the what, when and why associated with the task in hand and any future tasks you’re emailing about.
2 – Scheduling last minute tasks at the drop of a hat
When the client asks you to do something, you kindly schedule it in for them, no questions asked. By doing this frequently, your client is leading the campaign and that carefully crafted strategy is falling by the wayside with each unscheduled and pointless task. It can be difficult to challenge the client when they ask for something outside of the planned strategy, but by doing so, you’re demonstrating exactly why they brought you on board; for your expertise and experience.
If you don’t challenge pointless tasks requested by a client, 6 months down the line when you’ve gone so far off track and the KPIs are a far cry from your predictions, it’s too late to say it’s because you did what you were told. If the strategy is as good as it should be, you’ll soon have the results to prove that your strategy is worth every penny.
3 – Assuming the goals of the client
When you have many clients within one market, it can lead to presuming the same strategy can be used time and time again across different campaigns; the old rinse and repeat. There will be certain overlaps, and building a client base within a certain market is often the result of the new clients seeing the success you’ve had for others in their industry, but you can’t assume their goals are the same.
You need to be asking every client what their primary goals are to ensure the strategy you’re presenting is in line with this. Without asking, you could find the record organic traffic figures you’re excited to show them are disappointing, because what they really wanted was to increase the average order value on the site. You’re not saving them anything by working on assumption.
4 – Taking client goals at face value
No matter what goals are presented to you as the KPIs of the campaign, never forget the number one thing that really matters; money. You’re dealing with businesses, and few businesses are in the game of not wanting to make money. Ask them about their current turnover and where they want to be in money terms this time next year, then make sure this is at the heart of the strategy you create.
Regardless of anything else, you are there to make that business more money than before you were involved.
5 – Not setting service level agreements
Some clients won’t bother to touch base with you from month to month without you first establishing contact, others will be on the phone multiple times a day. Neither of these are great scenarios because the level of contact is unpredictable and variable from client to client, making it difficult to plan out your communication and ensure everyone is getting the same level of service from you.
Not having a service level agreement (SLA) may seem like the friendlier approach to the relationship but isn’t fair on the client and it isn’t fair on you. Setting and SLA means you and your client are both agreeing on a communication routine that suits you both. This helps the overzealous clients settle into a comfortable pattern whilst encouraging those who would otherwise go far too long without speaking with you.
Your kindness is a great attribute, but it needs to be channelled in the right way; scheduling pointless tasks, creating unnecessarily lengthy communication, never challenging their goals to get to the truth of what they want to see and avoiding an SLA are all sure fire ways of killing your campaigns in the long run.
It’s time to go easy Lennie – you’re hugging that client a little too tightly…