10 Ways to Keep Your Clients Happy

by Peter Attia on May 15, 2012

In an agency, retention is a large factor in how successful you become. You can’t grow in revenue if you can’t grow in clients. However, it’s not as black and white as it sounds. Even if you’re doing a good job, it doesn’t mean you’ll keep your clients. Here are 10 things to help you change that.

a happy client

1. Give Realistic Expectations

Right at the start of your relationship with a client, you need to be completely honest about what you can and can’t do. Never oversell yourself, because if you promise the moon and don’t deliver, your client is going to seek someone who can.

You also need to set reasonable timelines and make sure they’re understood. Sometimes it may seem obvious that a goal will take several months to complete, but never assume. Say it out loud so they know for sure.

2. Offer Onsite Meetings

Meeting face to face with your clients builds a stronger relationship. Give them the option to meet at their office so you can give them an update in person. Clients also tend to be more open about current goings on in the company face to face. It’s not that they’re trying to hide anything, they probably just don’t realize it’s useful information.

onsite meeting

For example, I once had a client that did tons of work at a local zoo. They had all these incredible images of them treating baby tigers and other exotic animals. This was a great way to separate them from their competitors, but they just never thought of it that way. I never would’ve known this, if it wasn’t for me going to their office and seeing the pictures.

3. Answer Group Emails, Answer Every Email

It’s quite astonishing how often people will not answer an email, because they think it was directed at someone else. If an email is sent to you and others, make sure it gets answered. Furthermore, you should respond to every single email no matter how trivial. The more your client relies on you, the more they know they need you.

I’m not saying it’s ok for a client to send you 30 emails a day, but bend your usual limit if your client needs it. Especially if SEO is a new world to them and they’re just trying to understand.

4. Don’t Ignore One Client for The Sake of Another

This happens too often. If one client is happy, they get tended to less for the sake of a non-happy client. This makes absolutely no sense. A client can be awed and amazed at what you’ve accomplished for them in the first month, but if you start to slack they might think there’s nothing more you can do. Furthermore, an unhappy client is either going to leave or be a nightmare to work with anyways!

5. If They Don’t Ask For It, Give It to Them

Ok, not all the time, but when they deserve it! If your report is a little late, give them extra work the next time around. If you had to reschedule a meeting, bring bagels to the next one. Random acts of kindness can go a long way. It shows your client that you care.

random act of kindness

There is one exception – don’t do it¬†monetarily. Giving 10% extra work, will be more appreciated than giving a 10% discount.¬†It shows more effort and has a more positive connotation in general.

6. Be Consistent

This goes back to setting realistic expectations. A lot of people try to do too much when they first get a client. This is extremely risky, as the client may expect the same every month.

You need to be consistent each and every month. If a client is asking more from you each month, bring it up! Otherwise, they will think you’re starting to slack off, when you were actually going above and beyond.

7. Give Random “Breakthrough” Updates

This is massively underutilized, but can be tricky to spot. Usually, you’ll notice noteworthy improvements at the end of the month when you’re doing reporting. This is great, however these accomplished can be drowned out by all the other information you’re sending at the end of the month.

Make a plan to send something notable midway through each month. This helps show significance for everything you’re doing. This doesn’t have to be anything astounding. A client ending up on the first page for a new term (even if uncompetitive) is a great achievement and they should know about it.

8. Don’t Let Your Client Hinder Your Work

I realize that may sound odd, but don’t let your clients shortcomings hurt you. For example, if you need to collaborate with one of their employees, but their communication is lacking, fix it! If they’re not responding to your emails, call somebody. It might be someone else’s fault, but if no one knows it, then it’s your fault.

There will be occasions where you’re powerless. For example, maybe you need pages to be developed on their end. If that’s the case work on something else. However, make sure they’re aware you can’t continue with the main project until they provide what you need.

9. Reporting is Not a Mass of Files

We’re all accustomed to receiving several excel files each month with a ridiculous amount of information. It’s to the point that they’re spot checked instead of thoroughly analyzed. It shouldn’t be like that.

so many files

When you send your reporting out, list a summary of notable bullet points in your email. Make sure you use easy to understand graph images of improvements. Invest in reporting software if you can’t put these together yourself. You should also attach a PDF or powerpoint summarizing what is in your email. People will save files, they won’t save your email.

10. Dont Let Clients Take Advantage

This is by far the most important rule of all. If a client is asking for way too much and there’s nothing you can do about it, there’s a problem. Always remember that you CAN fire a client. I know it sucks, but a single bad client can keep you from adequately appeasing three. It’s better to lose a client, than have three that are only moderately happy.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Gisele Navarro Mendez May 15, 2012 at 7:09 pm

I’m about to fire a client, I’ve been giving it a lot of thought and your last point made me realize it will be good for the rest of my clients as well. Thanks ;)

Reply

Peter Attia May 15, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Do it! If your client is influencing you negatively about your job, you shouldn’t keep them. Your clients should make you like your job even more.

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Hello SEO Copywriting May 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Useful article – will recommend this on Twitter. Strongly agree with point 9 about Mass Reporting. I am currently placing an emphasis on simple reporting styles which deliver quick, coherent updates. Keep up the good work. Rob

p.s. There is a problem with your bold HTML code in section 1 if it helps?

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Peter Attia May 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Thanks for the heads up Rob! Got it fixed.

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Mauro Mazzocchini June 4, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Hi Peter, loved this list, full of short-efficient jems on how to deal with clients…which is always a big task!
Really liked it and I agree with all you said!

Best,
Mauro

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