With today’s unpredictable stock market and still-fragile economy, every dollar counts. Budgets remain slim for many PR agencies and the clients they serve. Despite these lean times, PR practitioners still need to deliver exemplary results for clients. Those of us who act as the day-to-day point person for clients are the ones responsible for client satisfaction. Many PR agencies may not have the resources to over-deliver to clients, but we can still accomplish what we promise – and dazzle them while doing it.
Some of us may have pulled back because we are worried about the bottom line. If that’s the case, there’s no time like the present to come up with some new, creative ways to add value to your clients. Why? Happy clients are most likely to stay with your firm. If you can claim credit for their happy state of mind, your boss or supervisor will see you as an asset. Here are a few ways to exceed client expectations without breaking the bank. Just a few minutes and some personal attention can go a long way.
- Know the Industries That You Serve – We are all busy with multiple projects on any given day. We often have only limited time for “extras.” Still, a good PR practitioner is one who understands their clients’ industries from a big picture perspective. What’s happening in a client’s industry as a whole? How will it affect them? Learn about the important publications, blogs and e-newsletters that your clients read and be sure to read them, too.
- Keep tabs on industry news, not just client-specific news. Identify trade shows that would help you and your client obtain additional knowledge and exposure. If it’s not in the budget to attend, at a minimum check out the agendas online and learn about the keynote speakers and major sponsors. This helps you keep a pulse on who the key players are.
- Take the Time to be Personal – I’m not suggesting that we should share Saturday night stories, but we can take a moment to ask how our clients are doing. Little things like knowing the name of the client’s spouse and/or children can add trust to the relationship. If you happen to know a client has a big presentation coming up, wish them good luck. Send a handwritten thank you note after a particularly big effort on their part. We are in the business of relationships, after all, so we need to make sure ours are genuine.
- Be Proactive – In this kind of economy, most clients want to get as much as they can for their money. They want PR representation that will make the magic happen with a limited amount of funds. To hold on to clients, especially new ones, we have to be proactive. Rather than waiting for a request to come through, be the one to initiate a new program or effort.
This could be as simple as providing monthly suggestions and new, fresh ideas that could breathe some new life into a current effort. It could mean recommending another service that they don’t utilize already, and may not realize you offer. If you see any place where your client could strengthen their company from a communications standpoint, let them know. It’s in both your best interest to make the client’s company or product exceptional.
What do you think? Are most of you already employing this type of added value effort? Do you struggle with finding a way to strike a balance between adding value and over-delivering? What are some other ideas that could be added to this list?
About Jessica Love
Jessica Love is a public relations specialist at AugustineIdeas, an integrated marketing and communications firm in Roseville, California. She specializes in media relations, copywriting, message development, and event planning for consumer clients in the food and tourism industries. Jessica is enjoying her PR journey as she navigates her way through the industry, trying to learn and improve every day so she can deliver optimal results for her team and her clients.