4 Signs It's Time to Overcommunicate with Clients
As agencies, we have the tendancy to under communicate.
So much of what we do is done behind the scenes. If we don't communicate milestones and progress updates as they're happening, our clients won't have us on the top of their minds. Or, they'll be left wondering, "What are those guys doing with my money?"
If you're an agency who is under-communicating with your clients, you're going to be vulnerable to far more client fires than necessary. All it takes is consistent and proactive communication to keep the faith of the relationship steady and the progress moving.
So, are you communicating enough? We'll get into that in a minute, but first let's talk about what overcommunication is specifically.
What Overcommunication is and is Not
What Overcommunication is Not
Overcommunication isn't an onslaught of overly personal information. It's not the, "Hey, I just went to the bathroom" variety of too much information.
What Overcommunication Is
Overcommunication is specific to your client relationship and the work you're doing. It's targeted and strategic. It's all about creating and maintaining client faith.
By strategically overcommunicating you show that you are:
When a client knows that you are a trustworthy communicator, they're more likely to come to you early if there's some kind of conflict.
Overcommunication is in the Agency Framework
When it comes down to it at the end of the day, whether your agency overcommunicates or not comes down to your framework.
It all starts with building out your processes for every service you offer. By doing so, you've created a journey to present for your clients. This being said, they have an understanding of every milestone you'll travel to during your work.
Signs It's Time to Overcommunicate
OK—so do you need to ramp up your communication? Here are some tell-tale signs that you do.
Sign 1: If the Client is Asking You for a Status Update
It should be our goal to preempt all of these kinds of questions. If a client is coming to you asking for a status update then you need to take your communication to the next level.
Even if you're not finished with the deliverable, communicate the progress. Tell them that you're working on and discuss the progress. Clients want to know that you're working on their behalf and being a good steward of their budget.
- Overcommunication tactic: Provide the progress update before it's asked for.
Sign 2: If the Client is Reaching Out for Reports or Recent Numbers
This is a big sign that you aren't communicating well enough.
When a client asks you for reports or recent numbers that means that they don't have a record of it. Furthermore, it could mean that they might possibly be trying to justify your existence.
Reports and numbers should be built into your agency framework. For every service you're offering, you should have set milestones to report on. If you're in a retainer with on-going activities, reporting could not be more important. Your clients want to see the results of the work and they want those results to be thorough.
By letting a client wonder, you can assume that they're going to think of the worst case scenario. It's just the way that we, as human beings, are wired. We can also assume that they aren't sure of what your team is actively working on.
- Overcommunication tactic: We talked last week about the three meetings you must have in place for your client relationships. Within that we talked about having a consolidate slide deck containing all meeting agendas and reports built into it. Set this expectation up front as to what will be reported (hint: here are five Key Performance Indicators you should cover), when it will be available and where it can be found. Beyond that, be sure to alert your clients anytime you run the numbers and give context to those numbers.
Sign 3: Your Client Doesn't Know What's Coming Next
We riff and riff about having a process driving every service you have. Built-out processes allow you to tell the story and present a roadmap to your clients to follow. You have to lead the charge here. You are the Sherpa on this journey.
If your clients don't know what the next step is, you're not communicating the journey well enough. There should be no question in your client's mind about what's coming next. It should all be laid out and reported on as you progress.
- Overcommunication tactic: Present a roadmap for the service at hand. Talk about the progress and continuously point to the next milestone as you go through the journey.
Sign 4: Your Clients Don't See the Value of Your Services
This sign is a kiss of death. If your clients don't see the value in your services than you are beyond failing at communicating the value of what you do.
We, as agencies, often can see the tangible outputs. That's because we do this day-in and day-out. We know what to expect and what to look for. Our clients, however, probably don't. It's our job to lead this conversation with our reporting.
Value is often a matter of perspective. Work fast and early to discover the lifetime value of your client's customers. This being said, you might only score two new sales that wouldn't have happened without your efforts. To some, that might be insignificant, but what if a customer for your client is worth $100,000? Well, you just made the client $200,000.
Once your score and note the win, you also need to lead the celebration. Lead with your excitement and give context to the wins.
- Overcommunication tactic: Establish tangible KPIs and showcase them. I highly recommend investing in an Inbound Revenue Calculator and to utilizing that to show clients real numbers. The Inbound Revenue Calculator takes the KPIs that matter in Inbound Marketing and showcases the results in a bottom-line way. Point to these KPIs often and early in the process.
Overcommunicate Your Way to Better Relationships
Go out and strategically overcommunicate. By doing so, I promise you'll be on your way to longer lasting and more fruitful partnerships.
Here's to your outrageous success!