Developing and maintaining ethical relationships with clients is crucial in order for both parties to see success and, ultimately, produce positive results. There is great importance in establishing professional processes, like a code of ethics, where the company and the client can build on a foundation of trust. In order for everyone to be successful, the necessary groundwork must be laid to create and cultivate an open, honest and transparent working relationship.
The connection between a business and its client are built on values such as respect, responsibility, integrity and teamwork. These values can slightly vary, however they are typically put in place to ensure individuals within organisations are adhering to company policies and the overall vision.
In an agency setting, it is typical for a team to have several clients at one time so it is important to have a healthy balance between all parties. Agencies are able to position themselves apart from competition by making clients feel valued and understood. In order to establish healthy and ethical relationships with clients, the following steps are suggested:
Once a new client has been acquired, scheduling in a team building session to get to know who you are working with on a daily basis is extremely valuable. Through understanding the client’s needs, concerns and goals, you can then put a realistic plan in place. The consultancy has to represent a client in an appropriate manner that adheres to their values, so it is important to remember that relationships do take time and require you to go the extra mile. As a business, get to know their company and their people, as well as their industry, so that you and your team are able to confidently offer sound advice and knowledge, moving forward.
Demonstrate attention to detail
As every client is unique, it is important that we tailor our approach to meet their needs. As client relationships grow, they can at times become more relaxed. During these times, the client may expect you to go the extra mile, which can mean working beyond what is stated in the contract, and thus, over servicing. In these circumstances, an agency can be faced with difficult decision making in order to meet the client’s needs. Keep the lines of communication open with your client and voice your concerns but also be prepared to make customised resolutions. How you and your team handle yourself during stressful times can speak volumes and could even result in future referrals.
Your clients want to know that they are valued within your agency; daily communication, even if you are only briefly touching base, shows that you are transparent and acknowledging the relationship. While email communication is quick and easy to do, it often can be misinterpreted. In dealing with a pressing matter, a phone call or face-to-face meeting can easily resolve any conflicts or misunderstandings – plus it saves you the time of going back and forth with emails and gets straight to the point. It is also important to remember that picking up the phone to give good news is also a nice way to boost morale and will help to strengthen the connection.
If the above is communicated and understood from the offset, a positive rapport will be well underway. It is important to revisit these values throughout the year to ensure both parties are comfortable and satisfied within their business-client relationship.