Matt co-founded TrendKite in 2012 and oversees all aspects of the organization’s product strategy and development.
A while back we wrote about how the customer isn’t always right and that sometimes agency professionals must just say no. While that’s true, it doesn’t mean that your customers don’t have a ton of value to add to your PR efforts. They certainly do. They are the subject matter experts, after all. Here are a few tips for getting more out of your customer relationships.
Probe for Relevant News
It is easy to forget that not everyone thinks like a PR professional. There could be something interesting going on in a client company, but the contact fails to see it as newsworthy and doesn’t mention it to you. Reassure the client that you want to know broadly what is happening, even if it seems trivial, and you’ll sort out what is useful. Ask them frequently what’s going on with their product, customers, industry and employees.
Frequently Talk About Goals
We often hear that conversations about goals happen at the start of an agency/client relationship, but then come up rarely, if ever, after that. It is important to talk about goals frequently because they change over time. Getting inside your client’s head a bit when it comes to goals will help you define a strategy that stays aligned as conditions change.
Ask for Feedback
Some clients are reluctant to give feedback, so just asking, “How are we doing?” isn’t always enough. It is helpful to be more specific and ask questions like,
- Are we responsive enough?
- Are you happy with the level of effort?
- What could we do better?
- Does the quality of our content exceed your expectations?
- Are you happy with the level of transparency into our activities and the results?
- What additional data would you like to see?
Find the Person with the Deepest Domain Expertise
Quite often, the PR contact or even the CMO, is not the person with the most experience in the industry or with the products. They can surely tell you a lot about the space and are likely very knowledgeable, but it can be useful to have a fact finding conversation with someone who’s lived and breathed it for years. Maybe it’s a founder or someone on the product or customer service team. They may be able to offer interesting tidbits of information that could lead you down an unexpected path.
Every relationship is a two way street. You and your client have a lot to learn from each other. These tactics can help you get more out of your client interactions and hopefully propel your success.