You may be a media maven or a social superstar, an astute strategist or a canny writer, but in the PR agency world, this means little if the client ain’t happy.
I’ve been a PR consultant as well as a client so I’ve seen both sides of the fence. I know what it’s like to operate on the outside, trying to read the tea leaves to figure out what’s going on in my client’s world. And as an in-house PR manager, I’ve also experienced the frustration of my inherited PR agency not completely being on the same page as me (I corrected that quickly).
Walking in your client’s—or your prospect’s shoes—is an essential skill for any PR practitioner. It’s not something you can learn in a book. It’s a state of mind, a commitment.
It’s up to each of us to invest time every day to nurture our client and prospect relationships—to understand their universes, challenges and goals—so that we can contribute to their success. In March, Beth wrote that good PR is the careful balance of confidence and empathy, and I believe this applies to client service too.
There are many ways to make your client love you (and, quite frankly, vice versa). These are my cardinal rules:
- Be yourself: Be friendly, accessible and likeable (much like Jackie O?) Don’t just get down to business. Take a moment to ask your client how his or her weekend was. And don’t hide behind email; pick up the phone. Let your client hear your voice and get to know you.
- Be sensitive: Understand your client’s schedule. Be empathetic to potential corporate politics and how they may impact your client’s role… and mood.
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