I’ve rarely been the client during my career. Having started off in marketing agencies and then moved into PR roles, I’ve always had clients rather than being one. Even so, the phrase “client service” meant very little to me when I first started. It’s something that I learnt the importance of and how to execute well through all my roles. And now, offering great client service is something that we pride ourselves on at Carnsight.
This is what I mean by offering excellent client service in PR:
Keeping everyone updated
We’ve worked with a lot of people who have felt let down by their previous PR experiences. And when I delve deeper, something that’s common is that their PR pro worked with them on a release and then went very quiet after pitching, only to emerge a few weeks later and tell them no one wanted the news. I’m pretty sure that kind of approach doesn’t work for anyone.
Firstly, it’s our job to tell you when something isn’t newsworthy and might not get picked up, ahead of pitching. And to also steer you in the direction of something that could be. Secondly, we’re in touch with most of our clients on most days. I know this because we track our time across the company and can see what everyone’s worked on throughout the day. That could mean being in touch through a regular meeting (we hold weekly or bi-weekly statuses to update everyone), through working on a piece of content or through pitching something reactively and checking in on the response.
It’s also really important to track what’s going on. We track projects and opportunities using a simple status report (having worked on complex matrices in the past I can promise you this one is very clear and straightforward). Our status reports are updated regularly, so you should be able to access them and check the status of a piece at any stage during the week, if necessary.
We also track every piece of coverage received – online and offline – through CoverageBook, which uses an algorithm to estimate coverage views (how many eyes the coverage has had on it) alongside other things such as social shares and domain authority. So you can see what’s been achieved at any stage. There’s more about the importance of CoverageBook tracking and ROI on our blog.
Taking you on the journey
You might have worked with PR agencies before or you might have never had PR campaign experience – either way is fine. We’re always keen to answer your questions and explain as much as is needed at each stage. There shouldn’t be any smoke and mirrors in PR.
Likewise, it’s our job to make it clear what kind of coverage potential there is and where (and when) we’d advise pitching. We can also help with bringing the whole company on board with PR, through presenting at all staff meetings. Or we can present to your board or decision makers, ensuring everyone understands and there are no questions left unanswered.
Working hard even when quiet
Businesses have peaks and troughs, but your busy periods aren’t an excuse for us to focus our attention elsewhere. There’s plenty we can be doing while you’re away or unavailable. One of the things we find most useful is making use of our commentary compilations. We have these for each client and it’s where we store previous comments or pieces, which give us inspiration and verbatim that can be used elsewhere, at any stage.
Starting well and ending well
Finally, we’d love clients to stay with us for the long term, and many do. But for others we work in bursts and the send off we give them is just as important as the warm welcome they receive. Leigh-Ann has recently written about starting and ending well on a PR project, and she outlines how important the whole journey is.
So there you have it. Much of client service is actually about mutual respect and understanding, but you should always walk away having had a good experience. That’s really important.