by John Lonsdorf
Just as it is important to set expectations at the beginning of an agency-client relationship, it is equally as important to make sure that employees know what is expected of them.
Here at R&J we subscribe to a 5-Star Client Service model, and work to reinforce its tenets in everyone, and in everything we do at the agency – from top to bottom. We believe that providing the best, most effective and most successful service to our clients, and doing work that truly “moves the needle” for our clients, requires this specialized discipline and commitment on our part.
In committing to the 5-Star Client Service model, we emphasize several key performance areas:
- Set reasonable, achievable and measurable goals. Just as you wouldn’t start playing a board game without knowing when and how it is that you’ve won, it is equally as important to lay out the goals that we are setting out to achieve, and to identify the criteria under which we will measure our success.
- Over-deliver against those goals. Goals are not a finish line in a 5k race. So instead of stopping and patting ourselves on the back when a goal is achieved, we work with our people to ask “what’s next?”
- Be Strategic (vs. tactical). Delivering a well-crafted press release, white paper or bylined article is not in and of itself a “win.” Winning comes from achieving the client’s goals, and making a positive difference in our clients’ business.
- Be Proactive (vs. reactive). We emphasize the need for our staff to think proactively, to act as a trusted partner, and to make recommendations that help our clients in every way. Obviously this is most visible in the PR and communications recommendations that we make. But more than that, we make it a point to make suggestions to our clients that will help them to improve in just about any area – often in areas that don’t put a single penny in our pockets.
- Understand the client’s industry and the pressures our clients feel every day. We work both independently, as well as in partnership with our clients, to understand the ins and outs of our clients’ industries. Our teams focus on a finite number of clients in closely aligned industries, so that we gain not only a “50,000-foot” view of what’s happening in a client’s industry, but also a “boots on the ground” appreciation for what it all means to our client, in his or her position, day in and day out.
- Be a resource to your clients. The most gratifying thing a client can ask a PR professional is “What do you think about this?” We strive to have those kinds of relationships, where we are a sounding board and trusted advisor. Our clients realize that we are often dealing in a wider universe than they, and that we can often provide insights and guidance that can better help them to understand and address the challenges they face.
Providing this level of service requires discipline, thought, intelligence and commitment. But ultimately, it is this way of serving our clients that results in the longest, most productive and most gratifying agency-client relationships.