• Tue. Jun 14th, 2022

SEO agencies, how do you keep your clients close when you can’t meet?

Building healthy relationships with clients – old or new – is essential for SEO agencies.

Even if you have established a relationship of trust with your customers during the initial onboarding period, maintaining the strength of these relationships is an ongoing process.

Now, more than ever, it’s critical for SEO agencies to invest time and energy into keeping their clients close and happy consistently, and not just for the first 30 days.

This is where customer success comes in.

Customer success measures how happy your customers are, which has a direct impact on your retention rate.

A high customer success rate means low churn, which equates to less time and resources spent acquiring new customers.

By tracking customer success metrics, agencies can constantly improve their interactions with customers to drive long-term retention.

And even potentially attract new customers through word of mouth.

If you can achieve good customer success, you’re setting your customers up to be your biggest brand promoters and advocates.

Yet, as the world shifts from offline to online operations, search professionals must find ways to stay close to their clients, even when they can’t meet them in person.

The way to achieve this is through regular reporting and proactive communications.

But how should SEO professionals approach these activities in the era of the new normal?

We interviewed some top SEO experts to get their thoughts on managing client relationships during the coronavirus pandemic, and tips for other agencies to apply for during these unprecedented times.

Foster customer engagement in a remote-first context

How did you engage with your customers before the start of this year?

Some SEO professionals were already set up for remote operations, but many agencies relied primarily on in-person meetings to drive client engagement.

The customer success managers we spoke with suggested some useful insights for SEO professionals going through this offline-to-online transition to continue promoting positive customer relationships:

Be more proactive in all your customer relationships

Usually, SEOs communicate a lot with clients during the onboarding process, but afterwards, client-agency interactions mostly consist of formal meetings for reports and informal meetings to answer quick questions.

Yet, in the era of the new normal, businesses are still adjusting to remote work settings, and during this transition period, we’ve seen some clients miss out on reporting altogether.

Just because it slipped through the cracks in their inbox.

SEO professionals can avoid being seen or heard in a number of ways:

Set meeting frequencies

Larisa Buduroes (Client Success Manager for Upswing) says that in the current climate, clearly defining the frequency and purpose of each meeting is critical to keeping client communications focused and effective.

Michael Transon, CEO of Victorious SEO, also notes that they have seen some clients experience strong growth since February, so these clients are requiring fewer reports and meetings than before.

The main takeaway here is that in a remote setting, some clients have found that meeting more often doesn’t necessarily produce better results.

While others are more interested than ever in staying in the know.

So be prepared to adapt to the individual needs of your customers when setting meeting frequencies.

Go to them, before they come to you

It’s important to make sure — regularly and proactively — that everyone is aligned with the company’s goals, according to Laurel Stewart.

Especially now, when marketing budgets are increasingly scrutinized and SEO professionals must prove the ROI of their campaigns more than ever, search professionals must ensure that their activities are constantly aligned to produce the greatest possible impact for customers.

You also need to be proactive in suggesting things customers can do to achieve their business goals.

Maybe there are new keyword opportunities they can take advantage of or a new trend that could impact their campaign performance.

Reaching out to customers reminds them of your value, even when in-person meetings aren’t happening.

Track customer success

Do your customers read your reports?

Are they happy with what they see?

It’s important to engage with your customers to find out how they feel about your performance and to make sure they appreciate the value of their SEO efforts.

Whether through in-person meetings, calls, surveys or engagement tracking tools.

One of the reasons proactive communication is trickier these days is that almost every business has their preferred communication channels – Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, WhatsApp, Slack.

The list continues.

As Larisa Buduroes points out, this means SEO professionals need to adapt to a variety of mediums to keep customers engaged in a remote context – a theme that came up again and again in our discussions with industry experts.

Optimize online operations with video conferencing and surveys

Videoconferences

Video conferencing is now everywhere.

And while they aren’t exactly a replacement for face-to-face meetings, they are what some of us can emulate the experience of meeting with clients in pre-pandemic times.

When it comes to measuring customer satisfaction, video calls are especially important, as long as you keep everyone’s video feeds.

Larisa Buduroes and Madalina Mihai, Customer Success Manager for SEOmonitor, both emphasized the importance of collecting customer feedback through their facial expressions, non-verbal cues, and body language.

Things that cannot be transmitted via a voice-only call.

However, some meetings are even better in person.

This may be due to the type of client, industry or campaign, but sometimes issues need to be clarified or discussed in person.

When this happens, Larisa Buduroes says her team will always meet a client in person. Like when a better understanding is needed for a project that is in the discovery phase or requires multiple changes of direction.

In other words, optimize for video conferencing whenever you can, but always be prepared to adapt based on the specific goals of a meeting.

Customer Success Surveys

Video isn’t just useful for meetings; it can also help SEO professionals automate their communications with clients in a way that remains personal and authentic.

For example, at the start of the pandemic, the CEO of Upswing sent a video message to all of his clients, making sure they knew how everything was changing (strategy, communication practices, etc.) to help secure their businesses. .

Thus, also supporting the Customer Success Team to stay on top of their portfolio in a remote work environment.

Similarly, Larisa Buduroes says Upswing has optimized its customer satisfaction survey to analyze how the relationship has changed during the pandemic.

Since the switch, customer response rates have remained about the same as before coronavirus, showing that tracking customer success digitally can be just as effective as in person.

However, one area where digital surveys cannot compete is in collecting more in-depth customer feedback.

For this reason, SEO professionals should track any clients who report lower satisfaction ratings on a video call, giving them a better understanding of how to improve the client relationship.

Keep your reporting process up to date

It’s no longer enough to keep customers happy – SEO agencies need to prove their worth through the reports they provide.

Reset expectations in the current environment

Clients now have higher reporting expectations.

The CMOs of client companies want to be closer to the agencies, because they must report to their boss and justify all marketing expenses.