To succeed in remote client collaboration you need to manage expectations through good communication and be transparent in your execution. These are key aspects to earning trust in any remote work environment.
Client communications is a worthwhile investment, agencies typically have account managers that can pull together the information required for the client, however, this is typically a time-intensive exercise and as you start getting more and more clients it can become challenging to maintain a high-quality standard in updates sent and scheduled with the client.
It’s almost always poor communication that leads to client dissatisfaction and ultimately client churn. It can also kill engagement with employees as well if they feel their work is not valued or contributing to success. So how do you prevent this?
1. Share updates regularly
Build-in that regular rhythm where clients can begin to expect updates from you. Depending on the nature of the engagement, you might want to be sending updates at the end of the week highlighting the progress made, celebrating the wins, and summarising results so far. Or, you might prefer to send out updates at the beginning of the week, that outline the plan of attack for the week, and provide a place for you to make asks of the client to ensure they’re held accountable to any deliverables on their end too.
2. Lead with objectives
Your clients have typically brought on your expertise a few reasons and a number of outcomes that they want to achieve, and you would have built a plan together. Be sure to headline with these client objectives and milestones in your updates. This allows you to drive focus on the original mission and scope of the engagement.
Creating realistic objectives and milestones during the contract phase will help ensure you’re not overloading your team, and reporting on this regularly will ensure the success of the project, strengthen client expectations and allow both parties to react and respond to any hiccups in the process.
3. Showcase your results and expertise
In a world where we’re now drowning in data, metrics, and dashboards, we often need someone to piece together what it is we’re looking at and put together the story. As a subject matter expert you are uniquely placed to translate the data into insights for your client and articulate key drivers that are contributing to the positive change.
Showcasing results, impact and insight solidify your position as an expert in your domain, and if you’re also sharing your team provides an opportunity to celebrate the wins.
4. Highlight deliverables in flight
Building up assets, landing pages, ad creative, all takes time. Your project management tool should be able to provide a snapshot of how things are tracking and allow you to add commentary on when you’re expecting deliverables to be complete.
Communicating the current state of progress and sharing with your team and clients will strengthen client expectations and the team will also see the importance of the work in flight.
5. Make clear asks of the client
It’s common for bottlenecks to occur in the client review process, and wait for a response or approval from the client in order to move forward. Agencies typically spend 25-40% of their time on a project, but clients usually only devote 5-10% of their time to it.
To deal with this frustration, make clear asks of your client in your regular comms to them, and highlight what the backup plan is if you don’t hear from them.
Conclusion - invest in communication
The best way to succeed in managing client expectations is to invest the time and energy at the beginning of the engagement and put the time and effort into ensuring they have a good onboarding experience.
Once you’ve shown a good communication rhythm, you can adjust until there is a good flow for both sides. Flexibility and transparency go a long way with remote communication. Keep in mind that client management is a dynamic process that needs constant maintenance.
With enform.io you can effectively communicate progress weekly to clients on key initiatives from production, engagement through to results. Your commentary that you add on top allows you to translate the data into a powerful story that celebrates the wins and keeps your team and clients engaged and ultimately happier.
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