Much like marketing has been, client experience is one of the last frontiers of unexplored territory in the agency lifecycle. It didn’t need specific attention because the world didn’t demand it. Come to work, do a good job for the client, and go home. What more do you need to think about?
Some agencies focused their service teams on efficient workflows, rather than on building relationships and helping clients feel good.
But as the world changes, so too must the focus.
The client experience is the sum of every interaction a client has with your company. It includes everything—the first marketing message they see, how your website is organized, their sales conversations, how you communicate and interact with them, the solutions they receive to improve their business, and how the renewal unfolds.
The client’s experience with you can either be a random set of interactions by various team members or deliberately structured to deliver a specific and consistent experience.
We all have high expectations of working with a company. We know companies have so much data on our activities and behaviors and expect them to come prepared with that knowledge for every interaction.
Think about retail experiences. If you regularly order food online from a restaurant, you expect them to have your information, so you don’t have to rekey it.
A teacher drilled into my kids when they were quite young, “Use what you know to figure out what you don’t know.” Data collection is a fantastic tool for just that. It may have been creepy at first, but now we expect algorithms to serve up ads for similar products you may like. Heck, can you even shop on Amazon without looking at “Frequently bought together” or “Products related to this item”?
And don’t get me started on keeping your Google Maps and Apple Maps listings up to date! If a business says they’re open on Maps, I expect to find the business open when I arrive. The frustration with companies that don’t pay attention to that part of the customer experience is real.
Okay, retail, but how about B2B?
When thinking of keeping the client happy, it’s easy to put the burden on the service team and say they’re responsible for it. And the service team plays a large part, but it’s not the entirety.
By shifting thinking from “It’s a Service responsibility” to “It’s a Company responsibility,” you will create something categorically different. Moving into an overall client experience mindset takes the focus off just the service team and democratizes it to include everyone in the organization and their role in client interactions with your company.
Here are a few tips to consider:
- Having sales and service teams that thrive together is a core principle for a successful sales organization. A healthy mindset about the roles the two teams play is an essential starting point. How you behave internally toward one another will carry over to client interactions. Make healthy relationships a priority.
- Understand your buyer! Knowing who your ideal buyer is, their needs and expectations, and how they want to communicate are key to crafting the experience you want to create.
- In the agency world, you know your clients at a reasonably deep level because employee benefits and insurance touch so many parts of an organization. There will be general expectations and experiences that you will want to create for everyone. And then, there will be client-specific items you’ll want to put in place for individual clients. If you’re set up effectively, you can accommodate both and create the experience you want clients to have.
- Consider the experience from beginning to end and create a narrative for what you want. Think about your website – the look and feel, the navigation, the information you make available. Are you clear with your information? Easy to contact and connect with? Think social accounts, hours, phone, email, submission forms, chat, etc.
Start by working as a team. Write a description of what you want clients to experience in all aspects and touchpoints they have with you. Use the narrative to evaluate where you are currently set up to deliver and where you’re not. From there, it’s a matter of breaking down what you’re committed to continue doing and what you’re committed to changing.
We held a discussion about client experience with Q4i member agencies and ran it like a workshop. We started as a small discussion group and encouraged the participants to take the information back to their teams to outline their desired client experience.
Take these ideas and recreate them in your own workshop.
We shared a couple of chapters from our book, The Salesperson’s Guide to Growing a Business, as pre-session homework. Everyone read Chapter 14, “Why Service Deserves Pillar Status,” and Chapter 15, “Delivering an Intentional Client Experience.”
I started with a set-up explanation of what Client Experience is, much like the beginning of this article. We reviewed a few highlights from the sample client experience write-up in the book.
We then jumped to the end of Chapter 15 to the self-reflection, asking everyone to give the group an idea of where they are regarding having a fully defined client experience:
- We don’t have a defined client experience, so there is no predictable experience for our client.
- We are timely and dependable regarding clients’ price and service needs, but we haven’t thought much beyond that.
- We have defined and documented our intended client experience, and our clients sing our praises about the impact we make for them.
Gathering the answers from everyone informed where we took the conversation. We dug deeper into individual situations to better understand where they are today and what needs to happen to take the next steps in creating an intentional client experience within their agencies.
We wrapped up by sharing the takeaway resources to help them on the next steps in their journey to make clients the central focus of their efforts.
How clients feel about their interactions with your company will determine whether they continue to do business with you and refer you to other companies. This isn’t something to leave to chance. Define, support, and deliver your client experience with unwavering intention.
Content provided by Q4intelligence
Photo by inspiretta