We all want clients who love us enough to stick around for years—even decades.
But it’s more than just delivering brand messaging that makes a client shine, or building a booth that steals the show.
What’s the secret?
Excellent customer relations. Really, it’s an age-old concept that works, regardless of the changing times. Whether we’ve worked with a client for a decade or a day, we’re committed to timely communication, honesty about the scope and timeline of a project, and organizational capabilities that allow jobs to flow smoothly and finish on time.
Because these are the key ingredients to the recipe to maintain partnerships for years to come.
At Novak Birch, our project managers see good communication as the foundation to a trusting partnership. Rachel, a senior project manager, has a rule for herself: “If I can’t respond within the same business day with the answer the client is looking for, I let them know that it’s in the works, and I provide an estimated time that I’ll follow up.”
Although responding promptly may seem like a no brainer, Gauri Sharma, CEO of Lab42, writes that some managers are too concerned about having the exact solution or just the right words, when in fact acknowledging a client’s request and communicating that you’re on the case is just the thing to build trust in the relationship.
Another Novak Birch project manager, Allie, says that she makes follow-up communication with the client a priority, even after the project is completed. “After a client goes live with a publication or website, or has a meeting or event that NB is involved in, it’s good to follow up to ensure that they’re happy with the final product. This opens the door for positive feedback and constructive criticism.”
Honesty in Every Aspect
Hand-in-hand with communication is honesty. “This is critical,” says Allie. “If something gets lost in the mail, a project is running behind schedule, or something slips through the cracks, the best approach is to be honest with the client and keep them informed, while working to resolve the situation.”
This honesty extends into genuineness. There’s no need to schmooze and flatter clients in our industry. We treat our partners the way we want to be treated and allow communication to flow naturally while mirroring our client’s tone, being mindful of what is appropriate and professional. Rachel mentions that some of her clients share LOLs or emojis in their emails to her, and she happily reciprocates in that style of communication. But in other cases if the partner is more straightforward, she’ll follow that lead. “What’s most important,” Rachel says, “is to be able to read the personality you are working with and understand that no two clients are the same.”
Here’s what our clients have said about us…
Some clients need help determining the direction their project should take, and others see the whole picture but need an extra splash of creativity. Rachel envisions Novak Birch’s marketing role as the captain of the ship. “We should take the lead on calls, emails, or presentations and be in charge of outlining next steps.” But, she adds, “If the client wants to take charge in a meeting about an idea they have for a new project they would like to discuss, let them have the microphone. They rely on us to expand on their ideas, or take their idea and run.”
Our organizational capabilities at Novak Birch allow us to go the extra mile for clients, not only because we want them—and consequently, ourselves—to succeed, but because we truly care about the publications, events, exhibits, designs, websites, etc. that we’ve produced. This means seeing the big picture and then anticipating what our partners need.
When a federal client wanted their outdoor-themed booth space to stay clean and clear of clutter, they ran into the problem of not having a safe space to store their personal items. In past years, they’d stash their bags under tables or even in front of the backdrops, but this year Novak Birch decided to resolve their problem once and for all. We surprised the client with high-end coolers that matched the outdoorsy look-and-feel of the space and customized them with stickers, but most importantly, gave them a creative solution to their bag storage.
Exceeding client expectations is never a guarantee but certainly something to strive for—and something they’ll notice when you do.
We like to think that we hold a revolutionary secret to creating successful and lasting partnerships, because what we do works. But, really, the model is quite basic.
When you partner with Novak Birch, you get to know our team by name. We dedicate time to understanding your objectives, and we follow through on our promises to you, communicating progress every step of the way. We make your goals our goals.
Communication, honesty, and going the extra mile can go a long way in building a successful partnership that delivers high-quality results for everyone.