3 Ways Hugging Your Haters Can Improve Your Client Relationship
The 2016 High Five Conference was chock full of thought-provoking perspectives from leaders in the creative and marketing industries.
Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, NY Times bestselling author, and all-around content marketing sensei was no exception: His High Five keynote, largely based on his latest book, Hug Your Haters, had us riveted. Dubbed “the first modern book on customer service,” Hug Your Haters is all about prioritizing customer service as an essential part of your marketing strategy. But as we listened to Baer’s talk at High Five this year, we couldn’t help but realize his tips for improving customer service applied to client relationships, too.
- Exceed Expectations.
Baer believes that the majority of negative customer experiences stem from a miscommunication of expectations: The customer brought a set of expectations that couldn’t be met by the business, or vice versa. The same is true with clients. So what’s the solution?
Clear communication is key to ensuring your client is bringing a set of expectations to your relationship that you can actually meet—and exceed.
“I believe that great customer experience happens when you exceed customer expectations,” says Baer. “A great customer experience is when your business exceeds customer expectations in a way that is demonstrable and meaningful.”
Take the time to outline exactly what your clients’ expectations are before beginning a project—and check in with them to ensure you’re aligned. When work begins, be mindful of ways you can exceed your client’s expectations in meaningful ways—then demonstrate them when it comes time to deliver.
- Leverage Feedback.
No one likes negative client or customer feedback. But changing your perspective on criticism can go a long way.
“Negative customer feedback is the single biggest opportunity for organizations to hear what their marketing efforts most need to address,” says Baer. “It should direct your next marketing effort!”
Approach every opportunity for client review as a chance to gain valuable feedback on what’s working and what’s not, both as it pertains to the current project you’re working on and your overall marketing or creative strategy. What did you client point out again and again? Where were places they felt confused or tripped up? What avenues do they want to explore further? Use the answers to questions like these to improve your work and direct your next project.
- Answer Every Piece of Criticism, Every Time.
When a client delivers a ton of feedback, it’s easy enough to address the main points, and simply make the rest of the requested changes with no comment—especially if the feedback was mostly negative. But clearly communicating the how and why behind your work—and showcasing a revision when it’s complete—can tell your client they’re being heard in a more pronounced way. It’s this idea of actually embracing negative feedback instead of pretending it doesn’t exist that forms the backbone of Hug Your Haters.
“The people who complain about us—the haters—are not your problem. Ignoring them is,” says Baer. “The better approach is to hug your haters, embrace negative feedback, and answer every complaint, in every channel, every time.”
Take Baer’s advice, and go out of your way to actually respond to every note your client provides. Talk them through the thinking behind your work, and clearly demonstrate how it’s improved once you’ve incorporated their feedback. Doing so fosters a stronger sense of trust within your client relationship—it lets them know they’re being heard! And that’s something no one will hate on.
Want to learn more about how to improve your client relationship? Check out our eBook, Turning Clients in to Creative Partners.
Ellie Baldini is the Content Marketing Manager at inMotionNow. Having been a member of several creative teams herself, Ellie knows the challenges of inefficient workflows. Ellie draws on her experience to connect creatives and marketers with the benefits of inMotion, so more teams can get back to doing the work they love.