The evolution of client services and what it means for you
Client services has undergone a profound transformation in recent years, shifting from traditional project-centric roles to a more proactive, value-driven approach.
In this blog, we will explore the evolution of client services and how agencies are increasingly becoming strategic partners in delivering exceptional experiences that add substantial value to their clients' businesses.
The shift towards value - centric client services
In the past, client services primarily revolved around managing client-agency relationships, ensuring project progress, handling financial matters, and handling paperwork. However, as agencies have transitioned from project-based to product-based approaches, the focus has shifted to delivering experiences that deliver genuine value to clients.
The why and how of this evolution
This transformation was driven by a closer alignment with client businesses. Agencies began taking a deep dive into their clients' specific challenges and gained valuable insights from their respective industries. This new-found knowledge allowed agencies to offer innovative solutions and operational efficiencies that became critical components of their clients' strategic moves.
The goal was to move beyond mere execution and embrace a more strategic approach, ultimately becoming proactive partners in client success. To achieve this, trust played a pivotal role.
The role of trust in client services
Building trust is the cornerstone of effective client services. Clients must have confidence that their agency understands their business inside out and can provide the necessary insights and solutions. Trust is not established overnight but through consistent demonstrations of reliability, empathy, value, and insight.
Understanding the real business challenges
Once trust is established, the next step is delving into the core business challenges, rather than just addressing surface issues. This may involve addressing organisational inefficiencies, breaking down siloed thinking, and identifying opportunities for improvement. This level of understanding can only be achieved through thorough groundwork, empathising with the client's perspective, and caring about their success.
In practice: our Honda partnership
The transformation in client-agency relationships can be exemplified by our partnership with Honda. Initially, the focus was on project delivery and meeting deadlines. However, over two years, we reshaped our relationship by:
- Conducting objective and formal meetings.
- Establishing robust digital governance.
- Building informal connections to understand the core issues within the business.
- Demonstrating our understanding of the problem through effective communication. Leveraging product knowledge and a consultative approach.
Our approach shifted from discussing what the app could do tactically to why it should do it and what customer and business problems it needed to address. We took inspiration from the other sectors and clients we worked with to highlight wins and challenge spaces aligned to Honda’s need. This shift elevated us from being perceived as a technical resource to a digital product consultant.
The long-term benefits of the transformation
This strategic transformation leads to longer-term relationships with clients. Instead of merely delivering projects, agencies now engage clients in discussions about their immediate challenges and create roadmaps for future success. This approach fosters trust, mutual respect, and a balanced partnership where both parties thrive.
A process for success
The transformation also involves selling more strategic work upfront. Agencies consider the client's problem via definition, building the right product solution and then the product's relationship with other digital offerings, the overall digital user experience, and how these factors contribute to solving the client's business challenges.
Wrapping up: thinking for our clients
In conclusion, the evolution of client services has led agencies like Great State to think not just with but also for our clients. We are committed to delivering the best products that truly add value. By investing in building strong relationships and understanding the roles of digital products, we help our clients create exceptional digital experiences for their customers.
In the case of Honda, our approach enabled them to recognise the significance of their digital products and their inter-relationships, ultimately leading to an exceptional digital experience for their customers. This transformation is a testament to the power of client-agency partnerships built on trust, value, and strategic thinking.
If you want to speak to Ben about how client services can help deliver the value you need, give him a call.