Building a Close Working Relationship – Q&A with Daryl Quinlan
This blog post is part of an insightful series of interviews we are conducting with successful & well regarded web designers, SEOs and agency owners.
*All answers are the words of the interviewees and any opinions expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily of BrightLocal.
This Q&A interview is conducted with Daryl Quinlan from Glacial Multimedia
Daryl is the Local Search Manager at Glacial Multimedia, medical marketing specialists. Glacial integrates a mix of new media marketing tools; medical website design, search engine optimization, internet marketing, web video/audio production, website analytics, social media optimization and software development.
1. How often do you physically meet with your customers?
Rarely, which isn’t to say I am not in constant communication with my clients. I have customers in virtually every state in America so to have consistent face to face meetings is slightly problematic. I do travel when a need arises but try to limit it where possible relying more on phone and email communication. I cannot stress enough the importance of making sure my clients feel like I am there for them to solve any issues and answer any questions.
2. How important is trust in your client relationships & how do you develop trust between you & your clients?
Trust is everything. One of the saddest things I encounter, often from new clients, are the stories of how they were wooed by a company and then once the contract is signed they never hear from that person again. I am fortunate to work for the company I do, where our reputation is built on customer trust and results. I truly believe that I could not be as effective as I am if I was not able to build a trusting relationship quickly. If my clients do not trust me I quite simply cannot do my job. I am able to build these relationships through previous work, essentially word of mouth and demonstrated results.
3. How do you manage client’s expectations if progress is slow in the first few months?
Clients expect results. If you promise something and it doesn’t happen, no amount of excuses will repair that damage which is why I am very upfront about the expectations and timelines. I make promises but not unrealistic ones as I know if I promise a thing and that thing doesn’t happen our relationship is now in serious jeopardy. The few mistakes I’ve ever made were because I was not upfront on a timeline and the client expected results far quicker than they could be achieved – that was my fault for not explaining fully enough. Thankfully that was an issue I quickly overcame.
4. Do clients take a keen interest in results & reports?
Some. Let’s face it, some clients want to be involved and see how you got to the results, while others look at it more from the angle of “that’s what I’m paying you for, just show me the results.” Either way is perfectly acceptable to me.
I’ve also discovered that as I begin to deliver on the promises I’ve made, clients tend to become less and less involved in the monthly nitty gritty details – once I’ve proven my worth I guess. I also make it as easy as possible and point out when and where they should start paying attention again if a hiccup happens, there is usually at least one hiccup along the way.
5. What KPIs & how frequently do you report to your clients?
6. Once you achieve good results for a client, how do you keep them investing in their SEO?
Communication. Again this is where we separate ourselves from others I believe. We explain why ongoing SEO is important. Something as simple as constant monitoring of SEO work/performance or the ever changing rules of SEO are strong reasons to continue. With us there is no penalty for stopping an SEO campaign at any stage, which some other agencies mandate; instead we explain why stopping might not be in their interest and allow them the decision. I will say that virtually every client that has stopped has started again soon after.
7. Do you find it’s more lucrative to upsell existing clients on extra services than to go out and win new clients?
At Glacial Multimedia we offer a family of services – I say family because they are all truly related. We immediately begin with an assessment and then develop a long term strategy based on a clients needs, expectations and budget. Here again communication is essential, a client may feel that a particular item is necessary to accomplish their goals, but after having an honest conversation with them we help them prioritize what it is they truly wish to accomplish and set up a plan to accomplish those goals. In doing this we may end up with a wide variety of services up front, or potentially down the road.
8. How long does a typical customer stay active with you?
Forever. While we have lost clients to competitors over the years, the vast majority eventually come back. I attribute that to the fact that we simply care more than others do. We genuinely want to assist you in accomplishing your goals and do everything we can, realistically. We rarely make a mistake but always own it when we do, we never blame someone else like some others I know. I truly believe that our ability to build trusting long lasting relationships is unique in our industry.
9. How do you handle problematic or difficult customers?
With patience. Here we should define our terms however. Difficult customers tend to be the ones that simply need more hand holding and need constant attention. They also will require frequent re-explanations of how things work. While this may be slightly frustrating at times, it is perfectly acceptable – after all you know the context in which you work, they generally do not. Problematic customers I define as those that do not listen, will not engage in a conversation to strategize, have unrealistic demands, are rude and refuse to take any accountability for their own actions. I definitely work with one or two and attempt to change our dynamic. If I am unsuccessful I may put them on notice that if our relationship does not change I will not longer be able to assist them. We have had to walk away from a client or two in our years of doing business.
10.What’s the ‘key’ to good customer relationships?
Effective communication. Period.