Love is in the air as St Valentine’s Day approaches. As it does, many of us are rushing out to buy chocolate hearts to show loved ones how much they mean to us, thinking up ingenious ways to woo those we secretly admire or quietly hoping we receive a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
Pondering the relevance of February 14th on my drive into work this morning, as the latest jingle about heart shaped dough balls blared out of the car radio, I started thinking about what makes a successful relationship.
And it isn’t grand gestures once a year. Which is good in this age of austerity (especially given the credit-crunch celebration I’m planning at home – sorry James!). What underlies a successful relationship is knowledge and understanding about your other half.
And this applies to business too. The most successful working relationships in PR are collaborative ones. Where client and agency are two parts of a whole, working together. Something that is very close to our hearts at Westgate.
So in celebration of our clients and in honour of St Valentine’s Day, here are our top tips for prosperous relationships.
1. Predicting needs – knowing what lies ahead and how this is going to affect a client from a business perspective is central to supporting their vision and goals for the coming year. Key to this forward planning is looking ahead at the news agenda and making sure clients are ready and raring to comment.
2. Showing genuine interest – sharing your clients’ passions makes a story much more compelling when speaking to the media. Know their industry, follow online influencers and immerse yourself in all those little known facts that surprise a reaction out of journalists when you’re pitching a story.
3. Being responsive – and quick off the mark. Whether it’s a phone call, an email, a text, a Tweet – it doesn’t take much to keep in touch in today’s digital age. Make sure clients are updated as projects progress so they have peace of mind.
4. Asking questions – keeping relationships fresh is important. It’s good to challenge direction, check the right milestones are in place and ask what’s driving the decision making process.
5. Being honest – it’s good to challenge ideas and say if something isn’t going to work. The best relationships are built on mutual trust and the results are always telling.
These simple rules will ensure more harmonious, more productive relationships.
Reading in the paper at the weekend that on average 75% of customers leave companies or stop using their services because of ‘perceived indifference’, it is a lesson to us all to make our loved ones and our clients feel special. So what does love have to do with it? The answer is everything.