6 Ways to Maintain Client Relationships Throughout COVID-19
During these turbulent and unsettling times, many businesses don’t know what the future holds. Some are going through furloughs, pay cuts, and even layoffs while waiting to hear if and when they will be approved for a loan. Now more than ever, client relationships are crucial. With the economic turmoil and volatility our country is facing as a result of COVID-19, nurturing client relationships and generating new business is more difficult than ever.
We encourage you to take this time to maintain and strengthen your existing client relationships while you have some extra downtime during this period of social distancing. Here are 6 ways to maintain respectful, positive, and strong relationships with your client throughout the uncertainty of this pandemic.
Go above and beyond for your client wherever possible
We have been given extra time as a result of social distancing. Why not do everything in your power to make sure you are always going the extra mile for your client? Sticking your neck out to resolve problems, answer questions, and figure out their difficulties will be remembered in the long run.
COVID-19 has caused new challenges and problems we’ve never faced before. For example, many social media and advertising platforms are changing their ad copy guidelines surrounding certain topics like the ‘coronavirus’ and ‘COVID-19’. The ad copy Llama Lead Gen created for a client to use in a LinkedIn advertising campaign was rejected because it went against these new guidelines. We did some digging, corresponded back and forth with representatives at LinkedIn, and then rewrote all of the ad copy and created new images, videos, and CTAs to ensure they got accepted on our second try, without losing sight of our messaging goals.
Address a client’s needs before they come to you with them
Take an active rather than a passive approach. You are the expert in your field so you may know what your client needs are better than they do. Take this time to assess your client’s goals and identify any gaps in your timeline or current day-to-day processes that are hindering you both from reaching these goals. Once you identify them, make suggestions as to what changes might need to be made. Conduct informed, competitive research to see what other businesses in this field are doing to gain inspiration. For example, through our market research, while working with a pharmaceutical company, we determined that other pharma companies were providing free sample drug tests. We brought this research to our client and as a result, we were able to set up a sample drug testing ad campaign using best performing targets and ad products.
Make phone and video calls
It’s easy for us to hide behind email in our client correspondences, however, there are some scenarios when making a phone or video call is the better option.
When you anticipate a lot of questions — When discussing a new project or idea with a client, a bunch of questions are bound to come up. A phone call will be a lot quicker than 100+ back and forth emails.
When you have to explain something complicated — Ultimately, you’re here to support your clients, and sometimes support can get convoluted. In fact, 73% of customer service managers said that support inquiries are becoming more complex.
When you’ve taken way too long to respond — Whether your inbox is flooded, the message got lost, or you simply forgot, chances are your client will understand.
When you need to discuss something personal — Now more than ever, life happens. If something personal has come up that you think your client needs to know about, pick up the phone.
When it’s really important — Let’s face it: we all miss emails. If you have an urgent task or question for your client, giving them a call (or even a text) is a better way to hear back than an email. In fact, adding a deadline has proven to increase the completion of a task by 24%.
When you want to apologize — We all make mistakes. If it’s a big one, apologize over the phone to show your sincerity and explain how you plan to work towards fixing the mistake.
Check-in on ongoing, long-term projects
With the constantly changing environment and new projects always popping up, it’s easy to forget about the projects we’ve put on the backburner. Use this time to review your project managers, to-do lists, and old correspondences with your clients to make sure nothing fell off the agenda along the way. Check-in with your client on these projects to bring them to top of mind and see if there is anything you can do to keep the project moving along toward your end goal.
We have been working with an IT consulting company on building its social media engagement over the last two months. Building a company’s social media strategy is a long term, consistent effort that requires mutual understanding and constant communication between you and your client. Even though most of the content is scheduled out 2-3 months in advance, it still requires constant checking in with the client to ensure information is still relevant and that new information doesn’t need to be added. This project is dynamic and multi-faceted, so we are always following up on approvals, edits, final drafts, and creative edits throughout the process.
While we all like to adhere to our deadlines and schedules, things come up and inevitably those schedules have to change. In a time where many individuals are balancing working from home with homeschooling, parenting, and all other everyday struggles, patience and flexibility are of the essence right now. Many of our clients operate in different time zones than we do. If you are accustomed to working a 9-5 schedule, being flexible to work outside of those boundaries is important. When we have a client reaching out with a problem or question at an odd time in our time zone, we are always sure to make ourselves available while remaining engaged and accountable.
Be authentic and care about your clients
Right now, we’re all struggling in different ways. Whether it’s business-related or not, COVID-19 has affected every individual in one way or another. Being genuine and caring about your clients’ well being and success is a small act that can go a very long way. We all need to know that the people we are working with and spending the majority of our time corresponding with genuinely care right now.