Exceeding Expectations: The Foundation of Successful Client Service

By: Jeff Dezen

I once had a client tell me: “You guys treat me like I am the only client you have, and I know that you service a large portfolio of clients.” What could be more satisfying!

Of course, anyone in the service business — especially the creative services business — understands that satisfying a client can be challenging. Perhaps the challenges stem from an attitude of “managing” rather than “delighting” our customers.

So, then, how does a PR pro create delight?

Some tips:

  1. Define Success. Early on, we focus on understanding our client’s priorities or, more particularly, our client’s definition of success. Targeting a younger audience? Opening new communications channels for heightened engagement? Expanding into new segments based on geography or distribution? What we discover, along with our clients, is a shared clarity in purpose . . . a mandatory.
  2. Exceed Expectations. No one likes surprises, unless those surprises stem from “outdistanced deliverables.” Whether it’s “shattering” a goal or pre-emptively advancing an important deadline, to exceed expectations is to cement progress and build trust.
  3. Measure and Report. In carpentry, we talk about “measuring twice, cutting once” to ensure accuracy and to eliminate waste. In the PR business, we must measure incessantly everything that we do and, importantly, we must report these findings to our clients with clarity, detail and analysis. Only through relentless measurement and insight can we dial-in the value of our work.
  4. Celebrate the Wins. We ‘high-five’ in our own fashion. Some seek awards. Some pop champagne. Regardless, when we pause to recollect the outcomes of our hard work – especially when we do so in tandem with our clients — we breathe more deeply. And we show up for work charged up!

It seems obvious.

Easy to outline, hard to repeat and refresh day-to-day.

But, oh so gratifying when a client says, “You guys treat me like I am the only client you have . . .”