Curious to get some interesting tips and tricks to ensure you build long-lasting relationships with your clients? How do you base your customer approach on trust and mutual respect? In this article, Charles, our Account Strategist for Growth in the UK, has kindly agreed to give us a few pointers.
How long have you been working in a client-facing role?
I have worked in a client-facing position for five years, two of them being here at Criteo.
Which aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?
I like the satisfaction you get once you have earned the trust of a client. It is nice to evolve alongside them, learning about their business and helping them reach their goals. Basically, to watch them grow and thrive over time, knowing you played a part in their success. Success for our clients is one for us too!
Do you have any secret tricks for putting yourself in your client’s shoes?
The key is to keep yourself informed about their industry. For instance, you can set up news alerts to receive any publication or statistic sites that might be relevant for them and, therefore, for you. By showing them that you know what their competitors are doing and how it might influence their own strategy, you maximize your chance of being trusted and listened to.
How do you ensure you set up healthy foundations from Day 1?
To me, the first essential to creating a healthy relationship from the very start is to ensure effective and consistent communication with your clients, showing you have taken their feedback under advisement. Make sure nothing is left unsaid, so you can know what their expectations, concerns, and goals are. Especially when a partner is unsatisfied, you must show you acknowledge, understand, and take ownership to adjust and improve.
Which part of the client relationship do you find the most challenging?
Increasing engagement and rebuilding trust when things didn't go as planned. It is hard to manage when performance targets are not hit, particularly in organizations where multiple divisions must work in sync. Once trust is lost it takes a lot of persistence to get it back.
Could you share a real-life example of a functioning Criteo-client relationship?
We have reached a point of bilateral trust with one of our direct clients. You can spot it as they are willing to try out almost instantaneously the solutions we put forward. For years, we have nurtured this relationship thanks to a client-centric approach where we tie everything back to their core business objectives. By growing familiar with their industry, core competitors, and audience demographic behavior, we have been able to deliver performance and ensure we continuously drive growth.
Which aspects are mandatory to create the conditions of a win-win situation?
I'd base my approach on the following:
- Trust: You enhance a partnership where you share a common objective and must put all your efforts toward completing it.
- Effective and consistent communication: Active listening is the key to engaging with your clients.
- Focus on the areas you can impact: There is always something you can do! So be proactive to better understand your client's industry and creative to find the little tweaks that can boost performance.
Any insights on how to make your relationships with clients evolve?
Treat your clients as partners! We share a common goal; that of driving their business successfully. One way of doing that is to step back from day-to-day operational focus and share a strategic business plan document that you'll review consistently with the client. It allows you to set milestones and have a clear vision of the progress you have made together.
In sum, what are the main steps to build and maintain a strong customer relationship?
Trust comes first! Ask questions, show your curiosity, and listen to the clients; they should be doing the talking. Make sure you understand what their goals, objectives, and expectations are to know what you need to deliver. Also, be proactive as much as you can – researching, providing insights and analysis on industry trends, optimizing ongoing activity across all areas, or finding new ways to improve engagement to nurture their trust and confidence. And, as a last tip, I would recommend adopting a solution-oriented mindset, keeping in mind that when things don't go as planned, it’s better to proactively look for solutions to rebuild the trust than to linger on what went wrong.