Experience. There’s no denying it’s the new buzzword.
User experience, customer experience, employee experience and brand experience, these are terms we are hearing more and more in our industry.
And momentary eye-roll about agency buzzwords aside (don’t get me started on ‘agile’), it’s definitely something we should all be thinking about more in our day-to-day work.
Think Uber, think user experience. Think Amazon, think customer experience. Think Zappos, think employee experience. Think John Lewis, think brand experience. It’s all around us and becoming ever more prominent.
So how do we learn from these leaders and practise what we preach in how we service our accounts and projects? I’m putting up my hand to set the next new trend – agency client experience.
Agency client: ‘A person or organisation using the services of a professional company.’
Experience: ‘An event or occurrence that leaves an impression on someone.’
Sounds simple – clients use the services of our agency and we manage the project and leave a good impression. But how do we do this in practical terms?
Often in our line of work we face a daily dilemma – the frequent undervaluation of what we offer as account and project managers vs the growing demands to prove team leadership and quality assurance. How do we manage this and defend our position and the value we add?
Here are 3 of the many tips I believe to be important:
1. Be creative
Here at MerchantCantos, we bring creativity to business-critical communications. But it’s vital that it isn’t just our ‘creatives’ who deliver creativity. As a client services experience team, we also have a duty to work creatively with our clients. Enjoy their company, learn about their world, share things of interest, ask them questions, challenge their thinking. Take a seat at the table and have a point of view.
2. Always see it from the client point of view
If we are to succeed in offering an outstanding client experience, we must always keep our clients’ primary challenges front of mind. Our role is to lead the team in delivering solutions to challenges… and along the way to listen to our clients, understand the pressures they’re under and ultimately deliver against the brief.
3. Pay attention to the detail
If you do as you are asked, then you can tick the good service box, and all is well. The good experience box, however, demands more than that. It demands initiative, being one step ahead, surprising and delighting. It’s big things such as leading on implementing learnings from past projects and demonstrating detailed sector knowledge, to smaller things such as promptly sending key project documentation or never missing a client phone call. So often it’s the little things that go the longest way.
There’s an old adage in the agency world: you win clients with good creative and lose them with bad project management. By putting client experience at the centre of how we approach every project, and by embedding creativity within our project management process, our aim is for MerchantCantos to become synonymous with an outstanding agency client experience.