Being proactive and showing initiative are traits that won’t go unnoticed. I always aim to over deliver on results and keep the client informed with broader business insights, wins and sharing other intelligence that may benefit their business
Surprising and delighting customers with exceptional customer service is the pinnacle of any great business. While some companies are good at delivering what they promise, on time and on budget, there is a key difference when it comes to client service that sets a good company apart from a truly exceptional one.
Listen to understand
That difference, in my opinion, starts with the art of listening. Without listening carefully to what your client is saying it is impossible to guide them. Letting your client tell their story, and actively absorbing everything your client is saying, is the only way to fully comprehend their brief and understand their desired outcomes. Effectively listening to what clients are saying requires you to take a backseat, letting them do all the talking. This helps to set the foundations for a successful sales or marketing campaign, providing you with a thorough understanding of what the campaign needs to achieve.
Understand the long term goals
However, while exceptional client service requires honing your listening skills, it doesn’t stop there. Knowing the right questions to ask your client can ensure you gain a better understanding of their business goals and the direction they are looking to take their business. You’ll also be better placed to offer valuable advice when the time is right. Identifying key stakeholders within the business is also important to ensure you know the people that you need to impress the most.
Being proactive and showing initiative are traits that won’t go unnoticed. I always aim to over deliver on results and keep the client informed with broader business insights, wins and sharing other intelligence that may benefit their business.
Surprise and delight
As a solutions focused business, CROSSMARK aims to exceed client service expectations and I always try to identify opportunities for my clients that offer a win/win outcome for all parties, including the client, retailer and in some instances, the agency. Considering the broader circle of influence will help you gain the client’s trust and loyalty. This can be particularly beneficial in certain circumstances, for instance when things don’t go to plan and you need to access the wider network to help to solve an issue.
Transparency and accountability
This is where transparency comes into play – another golden rule of client service. I believe that if a client service relationship is flexible and adaptable it will hold strong through both successes and failures. Having the ability to nurture relationships often translates to a satisfied client. And when a successful campaign is executed in stores, it rarely goes unnoticed by customers, store staff and management. The client is also more likely to proactively advocate your success with their internal stakeholders.
This point rings true for CROSSMARK client, Jim Batchelor, Managing Director of Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, who said recently, “we’re all human and we make mistakes, but a true partnership has transparency and accountability which allows us to continually work together to learn and improve over time.”
By working closely and collaboratively with clients as you plan and forecast for campaigns will not only help forge a stronger client relationship, it will also ensure you are making the right decisions for your clients which includes preparing for best and worst-case scenarios that could potentially occur during a campaign.
We pride ourselves on developing an open and strategic partnership with our clients and we are often regarded as an extension of their business. True collaboration means doing more than simply acting on a client brief which is why I always make an effort to get involved in campaigns as early as possible.
From contributing to POS design concepts to meeting with manufacturers or with retailers on-site, if I’m involved and collaborating at every stage of the campaign, I can be confident that I’m doing the best for my client. By developing a closer partnership from the start of campaign, the client will also benefit from having additional input and expertise which is part of our service to them.
It is often said that “success breeds success” and there is no doubt that successful campaigns are born from great client service. With the changing retail environment, delivering exceptional client service has never been more important.
Blair is a CROSSMARK Divisional Manager based in Melbourne and was named Client Manager of the Year in 2016. With more than 14 years of retail industry experience, and 7 years working in agency, Blair has a wealth of experience to share with his clients.