As account managers, doing the actual PPC work is only part of our job. While the tactical side is imperative, we must also effectively communicate with clients in order to produce better results and mutually grow accounts. The combination of great work and stellar client relations yields happy clients. In this post, we’ll look at 8 easy to implement tactics that you can employ on a daily basis to better service your clients.
These tips are not meant to be time-consuming, but rather simple tactics that can go a long way in the eyes of your clients. Perception is a key factor in how your clients view the quality of your work and your determination to succeed. Let’s begin with a tip that takes no more than 5 minutes of your time.
1) Arrive Early To Meetings
We all have many meetings over the course of a week which eat into our work time. Thus, when meetings start late we get frustrated because we are losing critical time. That’s why it’s important to arrive at your client meetings 5 minutes before they start.
Without taking into account the actual prep for the meeting (what you will be discussing, sharing, etc), arriving early allows you to take care of the technical details. If you are in a conference room, you can pull your documents up on the shared computer (or if bringing a laptop, get settled). If you are calling into a conference line, you’ll have extra time to dial the passcode and identify yourself. When the client calls in you are ready to begin.
Whether you are first on the conference line or are calling the client at precisely the time that the meeting begins, you are showing respect for their time. Done consistently, clients will see you as reliable since you are always on time.
2) Create Agendas
Speaking of meeting prep, you should always send agendas at least a day in advance. Having an agenda ensures that you go over what needs to be covered and gives clients an opportunity to add anything to the list. Agendas make it harder for meetings to go off track.
My rule of thumb is that agendas should take no longer than 15 minutes to create. All you need is a bulleted list with a sentence description each of what you plan to discuss. Here’s a sample agenda I might create for a monthly meeting:
- October Performance – Review last month’s performance and trends
- Q1 Strategy – Begin discussing important categories/themes for the new year
- New Features – Overview of latest AdWords/Bing Ads features and how they impact our campaign
- Remarketing – Discuss new creative
It’s that simple. You don’t need to go into detail in the agenda because the implication is that you will expand further during the call.
3) Send Follow-Up Emails
Along with agendas, you should send a follow-up email after every call. These emails show clients you were paying attention and know the important takeaways. Just like agendas, these emails shouldn’t take any longer than 15 minutes to compose. I’ll generally include a short summary of the meeting and list the action items for both parties. Here’s an example:
It was nice to speak with you this afternoon. We’ll plan on crafting new campaigns based upon the new site categories. Here are the action items for each party.
- Research keywords and create new campaign structures
- Create new Google Analytics remarketing audiences based upon time spent on site
- Implement structured snippet extensions
- Send new category content
- Send Q1 promotions
4) Send Meeting Invites
Here’s a final tip for meetings – always be the one to send out the email invite. This action helps to show clients that you are on top of things and are being proactive with communication. In addition and depending on the email provider they are using, a reminder will pop up 5 minutes before the meeting. You’ll also want to include in the invite how you will contact the client – whether it is a conference line or you will be calling them. Again, it’s about making it easy for your clients.
5) Receive Billing Notifications And Disapproved Ad Alerts
Inevitably, there will be non-PPC strategy related issues in your accounts. It may be an expired card or perhaps an ad has been disapproved. Nonetheless, it’s crucial that you address these issues in a timely manner since your client is most likely receiving these notifications as well. In AdWords (and other platforms), you can choose which notifications to receive.
Once you receive the email, you can let your client know that you are addressing the issue or require input (such as a new card). Even though an error has occurred, you are quick to respond and fix the issue.
6) Highlight Product Updates
One of the most common client concerns is that their account manager isn’t being proactive enough. It’s a fair point as clients expect us to stay on top of the latest developments and trends within the industry. Even if you are implementing new features on a consistent basis, make sure your client knows. The communication can be as simple as a 2 – 3 sentence email that summarizes the update and potentially a screenshot of the new feature.
You don’t have to expand upon every new update with clients, but an occasional mention goes a long way in showing initiative. The perception is that you are on top of things and will bring updates to the client instead of the other way around.
7) Respond To Communication Within 2 Hours During Business Hours
Another common client concern is that response time is too slow. Perhaps the client left a voicemail and didn’t hear back until the next day or sent an email at 8 AM which wasn’t answered until 4:30 PM. As paying customers, our clients deserve better response times. As an example, it’s no different than what we would expect from a residential cable provider.
I’m a firm believer that all communication should be responded to within 2 hours. The answer doesn’t need to be complete, but it should acknowledge that the message was received and we are looking into the matter. This quick response time sets the precedent that we are prompt to respond and take these messages seriously. It’s amazing the trust that can be gained simply by responding in a timely manner.
8) Use “We” Instead of “I”
The final tactic is meant to show clients that they have a team working for them instead of an individual. For example, instead of saying, “I built these new campaigns,” you should say “We built these new campaigns.” Even if just one person is managing the account, the client has still signed on with the company. “We” implies that the company finds the relationship valuable and not just the individual. The term also lends credence to a partnership mentality. In other words, the relationship isn’t strictly client/vendor, but rather 2 companies working together.
Hopefully, these tactics have given you something to think about as you manage your own accounts. They are all simple to implement and prove to your clients that you are always looking to improve the relationship.
What other tactics have you used to improve client relations? Leave your comments below!