Communicating with your client is a key part of any SEO account manager or account executives role. It is essential to clearly communicate on a regular basis with your client, whether it is to provide recommendations, documentation or discuss some development enhancements. Becoming an extension of their marketing team allows you to build a long lasting relationship, which helps with client retention.
I regularly contact the main stakeholders of all my clients, this enables me to build a relationship that allows us to talk about a range of different subjects even stuff away from work, including Saturday’s football game or my forthcoming wedding.
Below I will describe how I communicate with my clients and the tools I use to make sure that I am always available and keep a strong working relationship.
I am not sure why, but people seem to be scared to pick up the phone nowadays, instead preferring to send an email.
The best way to communicate with your client and to build that lasting relationship is by talking on the phone. I make a point of ensuring that I speak to all my clients on the phone at least once a week.
If you are not speaking to your client on a weekly basis then I suggest that you think about setting up a weekly conference call to ensure that you are. On some occasions these conference calls will get cancelled due to client commitments, but where possible I prefer to keep to them even if it’s just a five minute call to discuss the previous weeks minutes, and to see how everybody is.
What would we do without email?! It’s great, easy to use and quick to send and receive, BUT they are easy to lose in your inbox if you haven’t set up filters to send them to custom folders. Another thing I find with email is that they are easy to ignore or forget, you could read an email and then get distracted and forget about it which could be a big issue.
With email I tend to filter all emails into client specific folders and upon reading, I will either categorise or flag them to ensure that I do not forget to answer them when they require a reply.
CRM Tool (Basecamp):
I like using CRM tools as I believe that all important communication should be recorded. If you can get your CRM tool to be incorporated with your email programme then you can kill two birds with one stone.
I currently use basecamp as a place to communicate with our clients and upload files. It’s a great piece of technology as it allows us to set to-do lists, communicate with message boards and upload files. All this can be done through your email so that you or your client doesn’t have to login to the CRM each time. Another benefit of basecamp is that I can access it anywhere as long as I have an internet connection, and if ever I lost emails or my email goes down, all my communications have been recorded by third party software.
It does take a little bit of time getting used to but once you do, it makes working very easy.
Instant messaging is by far the best way to get quick answers from your client. If you require some adhoc information, to arrange a phone call for later that day or just get an answer to a quick question that doesn’t require documenting, then Instant Messaging is the solution.
Some large companies do not allow Instant messaging as part of their IT policy, but it is worth asking anyway as I know some companies that will allow certain platforms. I use SKYPE as I can also use it to make phone calls but there are others out there, including Google Talk and MSN Messenger. If the client is allowed to use Instant messaging, see if they are using the same platform as yourself otherwise you will need to make a switch to whichever platform they are allowed to use.
As I previously mentioned communication with your client is of paramount importance and the best way by far is to pick up the phone. So don’t be afraid, it won’t hurt and you will find that you will improve your client relationship and potentially client retention by building strong communication with the major stakeholders.
How do you communicate with your clients? Do you use a particular communication method? Do you use any different tools that I haven’t mentioned? Or are you THE client and your agency don’t communicate enough? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.