16 Sep Listen carefully and make it happen: Our recipe for successful client relationships
Images for Business Director, Chris Shain shares his thoughts and experience on developing and maintaining client relationships that stand the test of time.
Q1. What’s the most important part in having great relationships with your clients?
A1. The most important part of having great relationships with our clients is listening, learning and understanding what matters most. Every organisation, every job and every person is different. So, it’s up to us to know how it works and what’s needed to make every project a success.
It’s also important to be flexible and realise that our clients have busy lives that don’t revolve around us. So, we try to first really understand the client’s needs, align on what we’ll do and the way we do it. Then get on with it with no more than the appropriate amount of supervision.
Last but not least is delivering reliably every time. Trust is easier to lose than earn, so we work hard to deliver, so we earn trust and keep it.
Q2. What are the unique needs of Government and big business?
A2. Big Business and Government are process-driven. They have defined the way that they work and expect that their suppliers do things the way they need them to be done. This applies to everything from the way we quote and work within the procurement process, the way we work within each client’s safety policies, and how we do the job and deliver it. It also extends to stakeholder engagement and feedback on all work. In short, we seek to behave like an inducted employee rather than an outsider.
Q3. What matters most to your clients?
A3. What matters most to our clients is delivering excellent results every time and being easy to deal with. Like I said before, every job and client have different needs. However, the universal requirement is reliable delivery and being easy to deal with. The other one is no surprises. It comes back to being very clear on what we are aiming to achieve and making sure that happens. It’s easier said than done of course, but that’s the challenge.
Q4. How do you add value to your clients?
A4. We add value to our clients by providing creative ideas, problem-solving ideas and advice on how to achieve what they want to achieve most efficiently. It’s very common for us to have an initial brief that may simply to be “Capture photos and video for our launch of X project”. That may or may not be accompanied by a budget.
So we dig deeper to find out what will make the launch a success? How and where will the images be used? Who will see and use the images? We then respond with a range of ideas to help answer what is trying to be achieved in a way that’s consistent with the client’s budget or timetable or whatever matters most. There’s definite value in the experience we bring and the way we apply that helpfully and creatively.
Q5. What do you enjoy most in your client relationships?
A5. We love what we do, and the people we work with are a big part of that. We are very fortunate to have a long list of long-term clients both as organisations, and the people we work with along their career journey.
We’re creative people who gain great pleasure from creating images and solving problems. But the ultimate is delivering results that make our clients happy. That, in turn, creates relationships of trust and empowerment.
In our experience, long-term working relationships are highly effective, efficient and enjoyable. The value of this can never be underestimated.