We recently did a check in and reset with one of our oldest clients. We wanted to make sure that we were being the best creative partner that we could be, and our amazing client responded by saying that they wanted to be the best customer as well. We valued the discussion that came out so much that we decided it was worth a blog post.
One of our core values is passion. We hire people who love what they do and who want to work on projects they are passionate about. We love to work with clients who are equally passionate about what they do. We want to see passion for the business, passion for the processes and passion about the results!
We love it when our clients have clear goals for themselves, their business and for us. In the absence of goals, we are just making things look pretty. Marketing should be driven by clear goals and metrics, and we believe it is our responsibility to coach our clients through this process. Don’t we all want to be able to say these dollars have been well spent?
We have learned that deadlines keep everyone on task. When there is a deadline, we all stay on time, on budget and focused on the goals. When too much time passes, a project inevitably evolves, leading to change orders and rework (which can be costly and annoying for everyone involved). A client that can not only set deadlines, but meet them for their own deliverables as well, is an ideal customer.
We are not a freelance shop, and we don’t work with unpaid interns, so our pricing is directly related to our labor. I’m not going to say that we can’t get excited about some quick and dirty projects, but we are all passionate about what we do, so we sure do love to have the budget to be able to shine.
We are NOT passionate about having to follow up for payment. In fact, we are pretty sure that a fairy dies every time we need to make a collection call. We work our butts off to hit deadlines and be incredibly responsive. The least a client can do to repay the energy and effort is to pay in a timely manner.
Ability to Make Decisions
This requires either direct access to the decision maker or empowerment of the internal team to move projects forward. Nothing is more painful than seeing an annual plan finally get approved six months into the fiscal year!
We love direct communication, and it really helps when the client’s internal teams operate with a similar culture. Our whole team is trained to welcome feedback with open arms, so it kills us when people tip toe around. We are not sensitive. Go ahead and blurt it out. Ask the questions. Even if you need to tell us you think something is crap. We promise to do the same.
This is another one of our core values. Openness, honesty and transparency are all critical to us. We want to work with clients who respect our opinions, view us as partners and are willing to engage in healthy dialog.
Respect for Our Business
We are running as business here as well. It seems strange that such a point should need to be acknowledged, but it does. We are all out to deliver a product or service we believe in, but we want to pay our employees well and make a good living. Just as our clients work towards a profit margin, we should be entitled to the same.
Open to Creative Exploration
Creativity is more of a process than a destination. It really helps when clients feel comfortable taking creative leaps and allow us to explore different conceptual directions. This creative trust expands naturally as our client relationships evolve, but it helps to start out with a certain amount of it in the beginning.
Every once in a while, someone comes along who expects us to have a bat phone with a designer, copywriter and developer waiting for their incoming calls. We are fortunate to have enough work that we don’t have people sitting idle. We do production schedules a week in advance, but always allot time for urgent client needs. A client who can respect the concept of a first-in, first-out production schedule for non-emergencies is most appreciated.
Say Thank You
Never underestimate the power of a simple thank you. We do great work for a variety of different personalities, and we know when they are happy. But it’s amazing how great a genuine thank you feels. (The very best thank you might come with cookies.)