Your agency lives the dream – you are busy and your clients love their experience with you. Everything is going great until suddenly someone comes and tells you that they are not going to continue their contract.
Bryan Plumb of Bee Digital LTD explains, "It's like pulling the rug out from under you." As an agency focused on the education sector, Bryan realized that this was not how he wanted his business to be.
If you can pull the rug out of you at any time, then how can you have predictability in your agency?
For this reason, Bee Digital Ltd created the Client Health Check. It's the monthly health checkup for each client so you know how they feel about their experience with your agency. Unlike health checks for your body, this one is quick and painless. As a bonus to the time they spent on these health checkups, Bryan and his team even found that they help out with sales and marketing.
What is the Client Health Check about?
How health exams support your retention rates
At Bee Digital LTD they rely heavily on the customer value journey. This is the 8 step journey someone takes in discovering your business and becoming a brand ambassador and promoter for it. This is how it looks:
The reason Bee Digital Ltd relies so much on the Customer Value Journey is because it shows the relationship their customers have forged with them. A company is about building human relationships. If we look at how intimate relationships fail (aside from cheating), you'll find that it is usually for one of the following reasons:
- Communication problems
- Be on different sides
- One way traffic
If customer relationships are human relationships (just like intimate relationships), we can find that the cause of customer relationship failure is:
- Communication problems
- Lack of progress
- Return on investment
As Bryan and Bee Digital LTD found out, these are the three things you might not want to be looking for in your agency. These three points can increase or decrease your retention rates by better understanding customer relationships, predicting how the relationship will change in the future, and adjusting based on data.
What leads us to the Client Health Check.
The Client Health Check
Bryan explains: "The Client Health Check is a system that takes only a few seconds to implement, but that provides complete clarity on all customer relationships and increases your retention rates."
Here's a look at the Client Health Check:
Bryan wasn't kidding when he said it only took a few seconds to fill out. With this health checkup, he's not trying to do more homework for your team. He found a quick way to keep track of your clients' and team's opinions on their relationship so you can stop retention rates from increasing before it happens.
In its simplest form, the Client Health Check is just an assessment chart. The results are:
- 1-2 unhappy / disappointed (red)
- 3-4 satisfied / pretty good (amber)
- 5-6 happy / cheerful (green)
There are 4 categories that are rated per customer: Communication, Progress, Results and Bowel Examination.
To rate communication, ask yourself:
- Are you satisfied with the level of communication?
- Are you or the customer over / under communicative?
- What better way to talk
- Does communication take place when it is necessary?
- Is communication easy or challenging?
Remember, when evaluating communications, you are not evaluating your customer. You're not rating them 1-2 for poorly answering your Slack messages. They evaluate the relationship as a whole.
To make progress, check out the following:
- Are things going as expected?
- Is the progress realistic and is it happening at a reasonable pace?
- Is the direction right
- Are deadlines met (by you and the customer)?
- Are you reactive or proactive?
Getting results can be a little tricky …
Bryan knows that “results change over time. The results at the beginning of a project can be delivery / quality resources, planning discussions, adherence to deadlines, materials produced, etc. Later it can be more data driven – number of leads captured, quality of targeting, growth metrics, demos booked, social stats, awards won, improved search rankings, website traffic, etc. "
At that moment, he will remind you that this is not a scientific health check (like the one you hope the doctor will give you). This is more of a gut feeling about how your relationship with your customers is developing.
Based on the outcome that should occur at this stage in your relationship, what would you rate?
To get the bowel check, Bryan means this:
"Some things cannot be analyzed. This last criterion is more of an instinct-based assessment. Just go with the flow and choose a score that speaks from your heart, not your head."
This is the score that disregards the data. It's based on gut feeling that tells you how things are going. Just as you check that gut intuition, if you are thinking of spending the rest of your life with someone, you will use that same intuition to see how you feel about the customer relationship as it is right now.
Of these 4 categories in the Client Health Check, the opportunities are the most important. Think of this as the north star of your customer relationships. Your business may be different so we can't * promise * you that. But chances are your customers want the ROI they were hoping for – and that depends on some sweet results.
This is your internal client health check. You also send your customers a health check-up. The only difference between the two will be the gut check. Your internal Client Health Check has the Gut Check and the one you send to your clients doesn't.
Here is Bryan's process for explaining the Client Health Check to his clients:
- Make sure you delete the Good Check column from the Health Check
- Schedule a team meeting with your client and walk them through the process to explain:
- You don't always expect green scorecards
- It's okay to have red dots
- Red doesn't mean they're doing badly or the agency is doing badly, it just highlights something that can be improved
- Send the client a one-page document outlining what the Client Health Check is and why it is so important
- Arrange a reminder email to be sent to the customer every month to send you the 3 points
- "Enjoy more clarity and success!" says Bryan 😊
Ready to use the Client Health Check? Let's go over exactly how it's implemented.
How to start the Client Health Check
It's time to get the Client Health Check up and running. Since it only takes a few seconds to fill out, your team and customers have no excuse as to why this shouldn't be implemented. Bryan emphasizes: "Your customers want to feel like they are being heard. The Client Health Check makes them feel like you. We let all potential customers know about the health check before they sign their contract so they know what they will do with the collaboration with us. They love to see that their experience is so important to us and that people choose to work with us. "
How to use the Client Health Check:
- Each account manager updates their table once a month (you have an individual table for each account manager).
- Once a month the Account Director requests the client updates from your customized Client Health Check (without the Gut Check).
To make sure this works smoothly, here is advice from Bryan:
- The clients never see the agency's client health check in their company
- The agency's staff can only see their own reviews and those of their clients, and the health checks are not shared without permission from the team
- Customer ratings are available to the management team
- Happiness across the board from month to month is never expected
- Red ratings can be worrying, but they are often easy to fix and offer an opportunity to fix the problem before it can't be fixed
- Red ratings can also be due to client errors
Your client health checks will most likely follow a pattern. By doing these health checks at his agency, Bryan has been able to pull these samples out so you know what to expect.
Mostly You have consistent client and agency results (meaning you are both on the same page!) And hopefully your results are all green / yellow.
Part of the time Your agency will highlight issues that your client doesn't even see (this is exactly why this health check-up is so important to keep).
Other times Your client will refer to problems and apologize for them, knowing that the problems are his fault. For example, let's say the communication gets a red score because the client is not responding to your Slack messages, indicating that they know this is their fault. You can instead offer the weekly meeting solution to see if that works better as a communication for the customer.
And, occasionally The client points out problems that the agency must have. Recognize the problem and show them what you are doing to change the situation.
TIP: If you get green points for three months in a row, ask that customer for a case study!
The Client Health Check is your way out of the "What happened ?!" Moments that come after reading the email from a customer who is no longer interested in working together. It is the crystal ball that can predict the future and help your agency maintain low retention rates.
Thanks to Bryan Plumb from Bee Digital Ltd, you can use this health check-up to make sure your customer relationships are going as good as you think they are. Bryan's great reminder that marketing and business is all about human relationships is something to fall back on every time you run into a roadblock in your company.
How can you make this a better experience for your customers by predicting problems before they happen?
A simple 5 column table.