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The 5 Key Principles of Client Service with Robert Solomon

Gray MacKenzie
Gray MacKenzie is a true operations nerd who has spent the past decade helping hundreds of agencies build more productive, profitable, and healthy teams by solving the core issues plaguing their project management.

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In this episode of Agency Journey, Andrew interviews Robert Solomon from Solomon Strategic about The Art of Client Service and the five keys to a healthy client relationship.

Robert has worked at powerhouse agencies like Ammirati and Digitas and served as a CEO for another agency before founding his consulting firm, Solomon Strategic. He has a wealth of experience in marketing and client relations from his decades in the agency world.

Here are the main takeaways from the interview:

It Starts with Trust

With any relationship, the foundation will always be trusted. This is what gets you through the tough times as an agency and business owner. For example, when there’s a client fire, your ability to address the issue and retain the client and keep things moving ahead has so much of its foundation based on their trust in you.

If they trust you, you will retain clients longer, get more referrals, and have the freedom to do more creative marketing. Trust is the linchpin in running a fun and profitable agency.

Great work doesn’t drive great relationships. Great relationships drive great work. Great relationships are built on trust. Take time to invest in building trust today with your clients.

Maximize Value

Agencies often focus on getting more clients in the door rather than taking the time to nurture and increase the value of the clients they already have.

You can do this by increasing the length of retention or services they’re purchasing from you.

Relationships can actually be scalable as well too. Once you’ve identified what you work well in a relationship with your clients, track it and apply it across the board to others as well. This will help you continue to build valuable relationships.

It is more affordable as an agency to keep and increase the value of your current clients than continually chasing new ones.

The Power of In-Person

We don’t often hear or promote this in the digital marketing space, and that is the power of being in-person. We prefer to send an email, Skype, or get on a call with a client to avoid being in person. It’s more convenient and cheaper for us.

However, being in-person takes relationships to the next level. Being seen and around makes you more familiar, and they become more comfortable with you.

You’ll discover new opportunities about how you can help them and grow their businesses. Robert explains how he used to do this with his client American Express and its value to his agency and the value it gave American Express.

The 5 Principles of Client Service

Robert has distilled the keys of a healthy client relationship into 5 principles.

1) Show Up

Agencies have a bad reputation with a lot of clients. A lot of it is because they are perceived as being flaky. They don’t show up when they need to, they communicate sporadically, the ball gets dropped on projects, etc. Agencies need to work extra hard to combat this impression.

One way to do it is to ensure that your client communication is on point, but you also want to build up a face-to-face rapport and connection when you get the chance. This is how you start building and continue to have a healthy relationship with a client.

Things will inevitably go wrong at some point, but your ability to show up is the difference between a client canceling or being retained.

When you connect with a client, it doesn’t have to be meetings, too; it could just be brunch, coffee, or drinks after work. You want a relationship you can fall back on.

2) Follow Up

Clients are paying you money. Whether justified or not, this means they believe they should be able to get ahold of you, and you’re on call.

Now you want to set time frames for communication, but it’s essential for clients to feel they’re being listened to and not just receiving radio silence. You want to be responsive to a client. This means acknowledging what is happening, even if you can’t fix the problem right away.

Clients feel better when they feel listened to.

3) Speak Up

It would be best if you communicate with your clients effectively. You want to be clear and concise, so there are no doubts about what you’re saying. In addition, being able to communicate with a client sets you apart from other agencies.

Whether it’s a meeting, presentation, phone call, or in writing, you need to practice the art of effective communication.

4) Make It Up

You need to continually be presenting and generating new ideas to get a client better results. The ability to ideate and develop new solutions for clients will make them feel they are working with a partner.

Far too often, agencies fall into routines and don’t develop new and innovative solutions for the client.

5) Straighten Up

This last point is about getting your systems all tightened up. You want to make sure your scheduling, budgets, and scope of work are all accurate.

You don’t want to constantly ask a client for more money, be behind on projects, or have a work scope that doesn’t deliver results.

The Art of Client Services

Robert has a book all about client servicing called The Art of Client Service. He recommends it for individuals in agencies at all levels, from project and account managers to creatives and CEO. It shows how you can be cost-effective in your relationship building and building a valuable relationship with your clients. 

With ever-increasing competition in the agency space, developing valuable relationships with your clients is critical to making your business successful.

No matter your level at your agency, it’s important to know how to do these things well in addition, reading can supplement the day-to-day grind of running your agency.

If you want to reach Robert, you can connect with him here on his website.

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