Being able to witness AdVision’s successes over the years, first hand, has truly been an unbelievable experience. I’ve seen our systems, processes and amazing people pushed to their limits (literally!), only to arrive at breakthroughs that simplify the day and propell the outstanding growth we’ve seen over the past 8+ years.
While most days at AdVision are filled with amazing success stories, any fast growing agency can attest that growth doesn’t come without its own set of challenges. We’ve learned over the years that an increasingly important aspect of our growth lies in our ability to maintain the level of brand loyalty we had with our clients when we were a much smaller agency. If we’re growing in the number of new clients to the agency, but losing the loyalty of our existing clients, we simply aren’t growing up to be the agency we want to be.
Here are 6 simple steps we’ve adopted to increase brand loyalty for our agency:
- Implement a customer satisfaction survey tool, and use in every quarter. Right now, we really like www.clientheartbeat.com. It’s simple to use, easy for our customers to complete, and we can benchmark our performance against other ad agencies.
- Design a ‘Welcome Kit’ for all new clients, and make sure this goes out the door as soon as possible. Include some fun items your clients can keep at their desks, but also take this opportunity to educate your clients, when applicable. We like to include the book ‘Inbound Marketing’, by Brian Halligan. This book covers all of the traffic and conversion strategies we’ll be managing for our clients, and then some. What we don’t cover, from an education perspective, in the sales process, this book picks up.
- Ensure a smooth transition from Sales to Production. Nothing can be more confusing or frustrating to a client than a clunky hand off. Sales and Production need to be in sync throughout the sales process, to ensure Production understands and agrees with what Sales is selling. If everyone’s expectations are in check, and surprises are kept to a minimum, the client experience should be a positive one
- Over communicate with, and always educate your clients. Weekly calls, meetings and emails are a given in any agency relationship. We like to also opt our clients into any form of ‘general’ communication that goes out the door. This can include, but is not limited to the following:
- Always be attentive, and follow up on all client inquiries in a timely fashion. Our goal is to always respond as quickly as possible (an hour?), even if we can’t provide the full, well thought out response the client is after. We compare this scenario to a bartender letting you know he’ll “be right with you”. If you can provide a full response on the spot, do it. If not, acknowledge the client’s request, and let them know “you’ll be right with them”.
- Act with Integrity. Nothing will lose you more respect with a client than not following through when you said you would. If at all possible, we employ the ‘under promise, over deliver’ mindset. Promise 80% by Friday, aim to have 100% by Wednesday, and you’ll earn the trust and respect of your clients.
Loyalty to a brand – any brand – is something that’s earned over time, not granted. A signed contract doesn’t mean your client loves you. A signed contract says they feel good enough about you to give you a shot at earning their loyalty and business. Now you’ve got to earn it!
Client relationships should be about more than ROAS. It’s also about earning - on a personal and business level – the trust and respect of our clients. It’s only when this has been accomplished that we feel as though we are truly succeeding as an inbound marketing agency.
December 30, 2014