With the recent economic downturn affecting everything from housing markets to lending rates, I found myself wondering if the intangible things – like client service – are affected as well. And the answer is inevitably “yes”.
The services clients request are changing.
Budget cuts in North America have been rampant. Marketing budgets have taken a big hit, which means many clients have had to do without, or get creative. And creativity can come in many forms. Exploring synergies across tactics are crucial. Being forward thinking one, even two quarters out – not annually – makes for faster response time to market fluctuations and consumer shifts. Agriculture as an industry especially knows that today, many growers are being equal parts cautious and reactionary. And many clients may even opt to take some basic services in-house to capitalize upon their own resources and flexibility to meet the daily grind of internal stakeholder requests.
When budgets change how do your responsibilities evolve?
As an agency, the responsibility to participate is never waived. That means:
1. Work hard to educate the client on their brand(s) and how to maintain them. An agency is hired to develop and build brands for our clients. One measure of your ability as a communicator should be to articulate the brand attributes so clients know enough not to erode or compromise the asset they’ve trusted us to develop.
2. Keep your eyes on the strategy. When work goes internal, so too can focus. If you are serving as a strategic partner, help your client maintain a clear line of sight to the desired end result. Offer suggestions to tweak the roadmap along the way to help your client from veering off course.
3. Be nimble. Serve your client with a specialized and experienced skill set. Wherever possible, if your expertise is required – even outside the usual process for getting work done – be responsive to clientsneeds.
4. Be honest. We are all on the same team with our clients, carrying the same brand torch. Make sure you’re doing your part to not let the flame go out.
As we move into more reliable economics and our industry continues to grow, we may discover that through these unique times, new ways of serving our clients will open doors to new relationships and new opportunities.
How do you see the future of client service changing?
Shawna Robinson is an Account Manager at AdFarm. She can be reached directly at Shawna.Robinson@adfarmonline.com