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A 9-Part Client Management Manifesto Your Agency Should Steal

July 05, 2016
Aaron Polmeer

By brianspatterson


Posted by brianspatterson

It was my first day at my new gig as a federal government IT consultant in Washington, D.C. I was slogging through the typical onboarding paperwork when a senior partner dropped by, introduced himself, and handed me a paperback book.

“Read and implement this,” he said. The cover read The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, a book with a sole focus on “the ability to earn the trust and confidence of clients.”

“Client management must be important,” I thought.

This encounter occurred more than 10 years ago, in my previous profession. Before doing search marketing or SEO, I was a government IT consultant. I navigated bloated systems and untangled red tape. In the time I spent consulting at the FBI, ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and the CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection), I learned quite a few lessons that apply directly to the SEO industry.

The most important lessons I learned, perhaps, were about the art and science of effective client management. Many of those lessons learned have become standard operating procedure at Go Fish Digital. What follows is the codification of our client management approach. It isn’t a sexy new link building strategy or a mind-blowing algorithm update, but it’s just as critical to the success of a project.

Overarching client management principles

To start, the following overarching principles help set team expectations. The three core areas that guide our client engagements are:

  1. Transparency: The majority of our tasks and communication take place in a project management tool (Basecamp) that the client has access to. We want them to see and participate in our discussions, questions, and decisions. By not having this process behind closed doors, we can always go back to when and why a decision was made within Basecamp.
  2. Continuous communication: We communicate at the pace the client prefers, but we err toward over-communicating. To a client, radio silence means no work is being done, even if that isn’t truly the case.
  3. Alignment: What are your client’s key performance indicators (KPIs)? What problems keep them up at night? We make sure to align our work and reporting with what is important to the client, rather than only pushing what we think is most important.

The following nine principles are built out of these three core areas, highlighting how you put these principles to work in day-to-day interactions with clients.

It should be noted that these aren’t hard and fast rules, but rather a philosophy to guide our team (and hopefully other agencies) on how to become trusted partners with your clients. It is hard to be perfect all the time (I sure as hell am not), but the more often these nine items are standard operating procedure, the better. So let’s dive in, Star Wars-style.

1. Take the …read more

Source:: Moz Blog