Conducting regular client feedback meetings can help your agency maintain good relations with clients. Do this at least once a year, or more often for those clients who require more 'hands-on' service.
Some agencies rely on agency review forms to get regular client feedback. These are useful to “test the temperature” of your relationships, but cannot compete with face-to-face, in-depth interviews for gaining a clear picture of client perceptions, challenges and degree of satisfaction with agency service.
Call your clients and tell them you would like their feedback on “our relationship and the work we’ve done over the last year,” and that you would like “to talk about your needs going forward.” Schedule a time agreeable to the client. Take your AE along to the meeting.
Do industry, competitive and financial research before the meeting. You need to know what outside forces may add to client stress or alter their perception of your performance. Try also to get a feel for any internal issues that may contribute additional friction between client and agency. Evaluate whether they want to work to keep the client-agency relationship on a sound footing.
Let the client do most of the talking. Begin with open-ended questions, and then dig deeper. For example:
- Considering our work for you over the past year, please assign us a rating from one to ten, with ten being “exceptional in all areas.” Could you explain why you give us that rating?
- Have we delivered any project or service that has been less valuable or had less impact than you hoped for? Can you tell us where we came up short?
- Do we listen well? Are we sufficiently responsive? Can you offer an example of where we failed—or did more than expected?
- How might we make our relationship easier and more effective? Can we improve our service in any specific ways?
- What service or campaign has been most valuable to your company?
- What could we do to be more valuable to you and your organization?
- What are your priorities for the coming year?
- Looking ahead, are there particular issues that you’d like us to think about? Do you face any challenges we might help you find solutions for?
Be proactive. Share interesting findings from your pre-meeting research that your client needs to begin thinking about. If possible, offer some preliminary thoughts on what you might do to lay the groundwork for further discussions.
Use what you learn at the feedback meeting to formulate a plan for the coming year. Write a CCR (client contact report) recapping the meeting. Distribute to all account service team members for comment. Copy it to the client. Follow up on any action items.
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