Going beyond Customer Service Week.
Although Customer Service Week may have come and gone, it’s never too late to find ways to celebrate customer service. No matter what industry you’re in, taking a year-round approach to improving how you engage with your customer is key to maintaining solid relationships and produce bottom-line outcomes.
As public relations professionals, it might seem standard to believe that securing media placements and nurturing media relationships are the only ways in which to create satisfied clients. While both are important, there are a number of other ways to keep customers engaged and happy during the course of any PR program.
From getting off on the right foot to maintaining an agile communications strategy, it is important to create positive and transparent experiences when working with clients.
During the initial engagement phase with a client, it is important to make a good first impression, and that should happen quickly. For starters, make sure the initial kickoff meeting is as efficient and productive as possible. To do this, go into the first meeting having gathered as much background on the client as is available.
Additionally, do some digging on their competitive set. It’s always great to provide a new client with potential recommendations based on any research conducted pre-meeting, to ensure you are maximizing the time you both have together. Post-kickoff, use the new insights you learned to further immerse yourself in the client’s business and, in-turn, create a strong and well-rounded strategy.
Once you’ve gone through the immersion period with a client, and you’ve begun the outreach process, make sure to share status updates on progress. While it’s great to have opportunities lined up right out of the gate, some reporters might need a variety of story angles floated their way before something actually sticks, especially when working with a client that is newer to the media scene.
This means you will need time to pivot from angle to angle – a luxury that can sometimes be tough to come by when working in a fast-paced industry. In this case, sharing regular updates on an account, and the process involved, will help provide transparency for the client.
Maintain an Agile Strategy
As you move through the relationship with a client, observe what your clients like about your process, and what they don’t, and adapt.
Does the client understand your progress updates and feel things are moving in the right direction? If not, what are the ways in which you can change your communications methods to suit your client’s preferences? Additionally, are you properly articulating the time it takes to execute a strong PR strategy? Ensuring strong and transparent communications with a client, especially when a PR program is first getting off the ground, will help not only the client but also the team to land on a working style that aligns for both.
Ultimately, celebrating customers should be viewed as an ongoing exercise as delivering meaningful client service is multifaceted. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and it’s important to find the method that works best for you and the client. Then, keep improving upon the methodology. Avoid complacency. A true partnership is when a client can envision the PR team as an extension of their own. While this comes with time, there are different things you can do to get the customer appreciation process going. This process should become easier as you continue to provide regular updates and transparency to the PR program.
Posted by Jacky Agudelo