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Working with Uncommunicative Clients

Working with Uncommunicative Clients

Every agency faces the occasional uncommunicative client. When a client goes dark for a few weeks – or months – it can be difficult to help their business grow.

Sometimes it’s a client that could be doing even better, if they would just take the time to give input here and there. Sometimes it’s a client who is doing great but doesn’t seem to care. Whatever the case, we’ve seen it all, and have figured out a few ways to encourage these clients to engage.

A quick note before I dive too far into this: communication is important in every relationship, and especially in one you’re paying for. We want our clients to be just as open with us as we are with them! Knowledge is power and the more information we have, the better for PPC and SEO performance. Our ultimate goal is to help our clients to be as successful as possible and an open line of communication – on both ends – is the key to that success.

Before deeming a client “uncommunicative,” it’s important to understand the best way to communicate with each client. I’m in my email all day long, so that’s typically my first line of communication. But depending on my client’s industry, that may not be the best way to get in touch with them. I’ve learned that it’s easiest to pick up the phone and give clients a call when I’m waiting on feedback for any particular item. Some clients simply prefer phone communication to email, and that’s okay, I just make sure to send a quick follow up email recapping our conversation after the call so that we still have everything in writing.

Sometimes a follow up email or phone call will jolt a quiet client out of their hibernation and we can quickly get everything right back on track. For the truly uncommunicative client, however, it may take some more creative thinking. If a client is in the area and we haven’t heard from them in a while, we’ll stop by their office with deliverables we need approval on and some sort of treat. Tiff’s Treats cookies (a local favorite) or Sprinkles cupcakes are always a hit, they’ll need some energy to review those docs, after all!

If the uncommunicative client is not local, snail mail can do the trick. We may not send the deliverables, but a post card and gift card to a national restaurant chain tend to be crowd pleasers. If that’s not in the budget or you’re in more of a time crunch, clients are always happy to receive good news. Whether it’s sending some keyword performance highlights or sharing a PPC campaign that’s converting particularly well, start out with some good news to butter them up. After that, remind them why you really dropped in!

Open communication requires work from both parties and we’ve worked particularly well with some clients and seen them grow more responsive and open as we’ve grown mutual trust. Plenty of clients are fine with one meeting per month where we can cover all of our bases and get caught up on any upcoming events, promotions, or website changes.

Some clients, we’ve discovered, may need to meet more frequently. While getting some projects up and running recently, we realized that we were better off meeting weekly to keep the pace up. After about a month or two of weekly meetings we were able to drop the cadence to biweekly meetings. While the goal for some clients is to reduce further to monthly meetings, the biweekly meetings are exactly what we need to keep the momentum going for others. Alternatively, some of our larger clients do best with quarterly meetings. As important as it is to determine the best line of communication with clients, it’s equally as important to determine how often to meet with them to prevent burnout (on either end).

A lapse in communication doesn’t have to mean the demise of an account. Try some of these tricks and see what works best for your clients. If you enjoyed this post, please consider reading our previous entries into A Better Agency.


Chris Pappas

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