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Relationships Over Revenue

In the last quarter of 2014 we had something of an epiphany. A realization of something we should have arrived at years ago. We communicate with our clients on a regular basis, covering topics such as Inbound marketing strategy, performance, and future campaign adjustments. For years, we’ve stood by, and made a good living by developing Inbound marketing strategies, executing on those initiatives, and producing outstanding results for our clients. The realization that hit us last December was that we haven’t stopped for even a minute to ask and evaluate if our clients actually value our overall relationship. When this thought hit me, I literally felt like I had just run into a brick wall.

It was time to make a change.

A valued relationship should go beyond the strategy printed on paper, and the results reported. These obviously need to happen, but a true valued partner also invests time and energy into developing a consistent, trustworthy relationship with the other person or people involved:

  • Are they friendly?
  • Do they respond to inqueries quickly?
  • Are the solutions they provide thoughtful and accurate?
  • Do they do what they say they will do?
  • Do they hit the deadlines they promise?

I knew we weren’t failing in any of the above areas, but I also knew we could stand to improve, no matter what. I needed to know exactly how our clients viewed their relationship with AdVision to understand and evaluate our strengths and weaknesses as a partner.

It was time to get to work.

While there are plenty of client survey options to choose from, being an analytics geek, I wanted to find a platform that offered more in terms of statistical feedback. I found Client Heartbeat after during a regular visit to the KISS metrics blog (a guilty pleasure of mine), and it was perfect. Not only was the Client Heartbeat survey short and to the point (4 questions), they claimed a higher completion rate than other platforms, including competitive data. This was exactly what I was looking for. Not only would we see how we ranked in 4 primary categories (Partnership, Accuracy, Helpfulness, and Promptness) our score would be compared to other Inbound agencies here in Denver. 

From the minute our first survey went out, the anticipation was killing me. It was a crazy feeling knowing we’ve created a platform from which our clients will give honest and unabashed feedback on the business I started. As this feedback began streaming in, some was expected, while other feedback caught me completely off guard. Clients that I thought would give rough feedback gave rave reviews. Clients we spoke to on a daily basis and who I thought would give 10’s only gave slightly above average scores. The results were eye opening, in good ways and bad, but most importantly they enabled us to chart a path towards improvement. This was the goal!

We immediately reached out to the clients that gave low scores, and discussed how we could improve as a partner of theirs. With their documented and now verbal feedback, we knew where we fell short with that client in the past, and how to fix the relationship going forward.

We also reached out to clients that gave great results, thanked them for their feedback and asked how we could be of even more value going forward. They really appreciated the fact that we weren’t satisfied with the scores they gave and we still wanted to improve as a partner.

It’s been 18 days since we launched our first Client Heartbeat. Some feedback is still coming in, but so far we’re scoring 10% ahead of our competition in Denver!

In Denver, the industry averages for Marketing Agencies were reported as follows:

  • Overall: 8.0
  • Partnership: 8.7
  • Accuracy: 8.5
  • Helpfulness: 9.0
  • Promptness: 8.8

What I sought out to achieve was statistical feedback on how our clients would score their relationship with AdVision. With this data, I wanted to identify and address our weaknesses and make our strengths even stronger. Client Heartbeat was the perfect solution for the task. I know it will make AdVision a better partner for our clients and a better agency going forward.

Until I see perfect 10’s across the board, I know we have work to do. Even then, we won’t settle. However, knowing we’re scoring 10% higher in client satisfaction than the average Marketing agency in Denver is feedback I’ll take any day.

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