By Nandi Thorn
You’ve probably thought to yourself more than once: I wish I could clone myself.
When you’re in the business of client service, you should be asking yourself every day how you can be that “clone” to your clients. It is not only critical for successful communications outcomes, but for building strong and lasting partnerships.
At The Fearey Group, we pride ourselves on being true partners. That means having a relationship, not a transactional exchange. While one size doesn’t fit all, there are a few fundamental things we can all do to put ourselves in our clients’ shoes.
Shadow: Consider asking your client if you can spend a day or half day with them at the office once a week or month. You will quickly learn more about their day-to-day priorities, business demands and get to know their team on a more personal basis.
Study their job description: Ask yourself if you really know ALL that your client is responsible for and how their performance is evaluated. You might just find something new that could help you bring even more value to the table. For example, what if he/she is in charge of social media or perhaps marketing for a certain product or service?
Request a copy of their business plan: Any smart and impactful communications campaign is tied directly to the business goals of an organization. With this knowledge, you can bring forth more strategic and focused recommendations. You will also have a better sense of what is important to senior leaders at the organization.
Make a date outside of the office: Sometimes the best conversations and “aha” moments occur outside of the office, away from day-to-day tasks. Get to know who they are and what they love to do when they aren’t working.
Meet their team: If you haven’t already, suggest a mini roadshow with key stakeholders within their organization. This will help you understand the different facets of their business and provides an opportunity to meet thought leaders and experts. Once you have those relationships in place, you are better equipped to step in and be a true back-up for your client. It can be as simple as participating in a meeting, staffing an interview or hunting down details for an upcoming announcement when they are double-booked.
The Fearey Group has had the privilege of being an embedded team member for two recent clients. While we still learned something new every day, I can say that the time spent putting ourselves in our clients’ shoes made this possible. We already had a trusting, enduring relationship – one that couldn’t be built just by participating on a weekly check-in call and exchanging a few emails in between.