Nuffer, Smith, Tucker is set on redefining the role of public relations as something bigger, greater and more meaningful than its traditional definition. One way that we do this is by getting away from our desks (when we’re not working from home), rolling up our sleeves and constantly exploring the best strategies to help our clients build relationships to ultimately achieve results. We’re in the business of building effective relationships, but the most important relationships we have are the relationships with our clients.
The relationships we have with our clients are invaluable and the constant interaction through daily, ongoing communication builds trust, increases efficiencies and makes our jobs more enjoyable. It can be difficult to think of your clients as “real people” when you’re constantly checking in during your nine-to-five, but it’s important to remember that we build relationships with people … and our clients are people who have their own feelings, biases, goals, dreams and aspirations.
No matter the client, they choose us for a variety of services, and are looking for mistake-free, timely, quality service; strategic thinking, expert counsel and innovation; and outcomes that improve their businesses and meet their goals. But it’s our relationships with our clients that allow us to successfully deliver on all of these things.
So, how do you manage your relationships with your clients? One important first step is to manage expectations. Simply said – be forthright with information to manage their expectations of you, your role, their role and what you can expect to accomplish together. You wouldn’t set a lunch date with a friend for 12:30 p.m. and not show up until 1:45 p.m. without any communication, would you? You would align on a time and set expectations – the same is true for building an effective relationship with your client – do what you said you will. NST manages simple expectations – like showing up on time – but also uses this idea in day-to-day activities like media relations, product launches, timeframe of projects, budgets, etc.
With expectations in place, work with your client to establish a communication system (method, frequency, etc.) and set mutually agreed upon objectives. From there, be prepared to:
- Understand what they’re looking to accomplish with PR efforts
- Explain what we do and how we do it
- Establish boundaries for communication
- Address questions that may arise before they come up
- Discuss evaluation and measurement criteria to determine success
With all of the above, ensure you’re on the same page by actively listening, clarifying and recapping your discussions – sometimes verbally and electronically. It’s easy to have a great conversation with a client and then end the call or go back to your workspace and realize there was something else you wanted to ask. Even though it will happen from time to time (we’re only human), it’s helpful to ask yourself:
- Did I get everything I needed from this interaction? If not, how will I follow-up?
- Did I provide the most value to my client?
- Did I provide them with everything they needed? If not, how will I follow-up?
We strive to create meaningful change and drive success for our clients, invest in personal relationships and bond as people – not just partners. Our client’s success is our success. If you’re looking to build an effective, meaningful relationship with your stakeholders – contact us, we can’t wait to connect with you!