Tommy Patterson is co-founder and CEO of WKND Digital†
The customer is always right† It’s an expression ingrained in anyone who has worked in a customer-centric environment. Is it always true? No. Is it always wrong? Also no. Maintaining a trusting, beneficial relationship with customers single-handedly determines the effectiveness of your craft. In today’s full-service marketing industry, almost all relationships are managed digitally. With multiple new programs, products, and platforms being introduced to be the true one-stop customer relationship service, how can you communicate effectively with your customer?
Make transparency a priority
You could have the best product or service in the world, but if your customers don’t feel like they are getting 100% of what they are promised, this failure and responsibility will fall on you. Prior to client engagements with my company, WKND Digital, my team must first identify the challenges our prospects experience and whether WKND is the right marketing partner to solve those challenges. This is the difference between an expert and an amateur. Experts diagnose and prescribe, while amateurs give advice with no clear roadmap to success.
My team will participate in multiple Zoom conversations to make sure that first and foremost we can actually help our prospects achieve their goal and that it’s realistic based on where their company is currently performing. We will then complete a full account audit and follow-up interview to present the opportunities for improvement and whether we think WKND is the right marketing partner for both their short-term and long-term goals. Only through the process of full transparency and understanding of a prospect’s business can you identify and validate the challenges and opportunities for growth.
Create effective, streamlined communication
There are hundreds of SAAS communication platforms to choose from to ensure excellent communication and project management. The key is not so much what program to use, but rather: how you intend to communicate and if you always communicate with a purposeful intent linked to specific outcomes and outcomes. I think it’s best to emphasize from the outset that you intend to conduct all communications in one space. Personally, our team uses Slack, because of its availability to share files and messages and create channels for all needs.
Please note that it is effective to reiterate that all communication should be through one channel and not in private messages, emails or video calls as this can lead to miscommunication for both parties. There should always be a central node for the central person through which all communication flows to ensure maximum efficiency and execution without delays. The service business is 80% communication and 20% results. You can have next level results and have terrible communication, and you will still lose customers. However, if you have unparalleled communication coupled with a roadmap to success with clear KPIs, you will always reach your goal in the end.
Set daily standards
To reduce miscommunication and ambiguity in your customer relationships, it is important to ensure that your customers receive daily updates on current initiatives being implemented, whether the customer is involved on a daily basis or not. When it comes to marketing, communicating day-to-day productivity and results in a way that is easy to read and not jargon is essential. Remember, the client hired you† Make sure you have a solid system in place to iterate the highs and lows of campaign performance in a way that’s open to discussion and easy for the novice marketer to digest.
Create weekly check-ins
While it is essential to communicate on a daily basis on the platform of your choice, face-to-face (or rather screen-to-screen) communication not only gives the customer the chance to put a face to the team, but the also helps to avoid any problems. questions that may arise in written communication. It is easy to misinterpret the tone or even the structure of a message, which can result in an unfavorable result. But talking face-to-face gives you the power to tackle anything that’s hard to explain in a message. I think it’s best to check in at least weekly or bi-weekly depending on client needs and scope of work. The goal is to reduce conversation through clear communication and implementation of North Star goals set prior to our engagement.
Own to any mistakes
As I mentioned, while there are so many benefits of doing business only online, it can lead to difficult conversations. No one is perfect and mistakes are expected to be made. If a customer finds something that they thought should have been done differently and should have been done differently, it is your responsibility to clarify what mistake was made and how to do it more effectively in the future to resolve. It sounds simple, but it can often happen that a customer is frustrated and looking to you for answers. If you’ve dropped the ball, it’s important to emphasize that an honest mistake was made and to reassure the customer that you will strive for a better outcome in the future.
All in all, CRM in business is no different than in personal relationships. Setting boundaries and creating an environment that is open to communication is the best thing anyone can do. Although the digital market is constantly changing, effective communication will always be the most important aspect of your customer relationship.