No manager wants a miserable staff, or a miserable client for that matter.
There is a plethora of reasons for this, but I’ll outline the two most important ones:
1. It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience
2. Happy employees are 12% more productive
These two pieces of information shed enough light on the matter to reveal that satisfaction is a critical metric to keep track of. Now you might think that clients and team members are two separate cases and they shouldn’t be labeled under the same line. In other words, to make clients happy you have to do one thing, and to keep team members happy you need to do something else.
In reality though, both clients and team members are people, and people tend to appreciate similar things when it comes to the working atmosphere. People, as a whole, share similar values when it comes to how you treat and communicate with them. The following tips can be applied to both team and client relationships in an effort to maximize their happiness of working with you as a marketing manager.
1. Maintain excellent communication
Both clients and team members highly value communication, and with good reason.
26% of survey respondents, presented by InformationWeek, claim that project success depends on effective team communication, and another study by PMI concluded that poor communication accounts for 30% of project failures.
Communication helps everyone stay on the same page and be aware of how things progress, at all times. Having a clear, established communication line will help deliver all the necessary information to the corresponding parties and minimize time loss on ineffective project activities.
For example, when project priorities get shifted either by you or the client, the team needs to be aware of what caused the shift and why. Being left in the dark is never enjoyable, but being updated on matters gives a feeling of importance and respect to team members, which in turn, makes them more eager to carry on with their work.
The same can be said for clients.
When you make changes, even if they are meant for good, remember that clients can’t see what’s going on in your head. When left unchecked, their first reaction will almost always be negative, just because you failed to communicate the changes to them.
Establishing proper communication with both team members and clients should be on the top of your list, if you want to keep the staff and clients happy and engaged. A good way to improve communication is by using a PM software. A PM user research report by Capterra has revealed that PM software can help improve team communication by as much as 52%.
2. Keep everything transparent
“Our employee engagement survey found that the No. 1 contributor to employee happiness is transparency. Money and promotions are important, but what people want to know is the truth about the state of the company. The cost of improving transparency is almost zero, but it requires an ongoing dialogue between management and staff.” – B.J. Shannon, manager of customer happiness at TINYpulse (source: businessnewsdaily)
It’s ok to make mistakes.
We are all human, we are bound to mess up every now and then. As a manager, you have more responsibility on your shoulders, and thus your mistakes can cost a lot more. However, the important thing to realize is that keeping those mistakes secret isn’t going to help a tiny bit. In fact, it will be even worse.
As it turns out, employees and clients alike value honesty and transparency over being a perfect human being. If you want to keep the staff and clients happy, don’t be afraid to share all the information about what’s going on with the project. The fact that you acknowledge your mistakes and want to correct them is worth a lot more than secretly trying to set things right on your own.
3. Go the extra mile
Let me give you a small, but highly satisfying example.
Have you ever been in a restaurant, and received a small treat from them, for completely free, simply because you are their client? That feeling of happiness you get at that moment, is the power of going an extra mile for somebody.
The beautiful thing about going the extra mile is that it doesn’t have to be anything big: it’s the emotional aspect that matters. For instance, something as simple as completing an additional sub-task for a client, which requires almost no effort from you and wasn’t initially a part of the scope, will be enough to do the trick.
The same goes for team members. If they approach you with a request, try to handle it in the most delightful way possible. This will help show that you care about your teammates and want to keep them happy, even when you have a lot of stuff to handle yourself.
Given all this though, make sure that going the extra mile doesn’t turn into a habit. You don’t want your good attitude and friendly approach to turn into something that is always expected of you, since in that case, the extra mile will lose its value rapidly, and turn into a frustrating obligation after some time.
4. The power of anticipation
If you are careful and attentive to detail, you can learn a lot about your clients and employees. Most people have their habits and tend to do the same things over and over again, and knowing about this can help you create an impression that you really understand the needs and challenges of your clients and solve them well.
For example, if you notice that a client always writes short emails, it probably means that he doesn’t like dealing with long pieces of information and its better to schedule a quick call whenever you need to clarify something. Or, if the client always asks the same questions during the weekly reporting call on Friday, you can prepare the answers beforehand and present them even before the client asks anything.
The power of anticipation is amazing. It helps maximize the resources at your disposal and manage time and relationships with maximum efficiency.
5. Be a good educator
Remember that not everybody understands each situation as well as you do. Clients are very busy people and they might miss out on a few important points from time to time, and team members often need guidance to understand what’s going on with the project. As a manager, it’s your job to make sure that no bad decisions are made by clients or team members, just because of lack of knowledge.
Knowing and understanding more about a topic shouldn’t be regarded as a privilege. On the contrary, try to share your knowledge and educate others around you. This approach will improve the overall quality of everyone’s work and also keep the staff and clients happy, engaged and motivated.
Happiness, satisfaction, and motivation are all tied together in the same boat. If one those trips, the other two are going to suffer as well. Remember that people are simple creatures and you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to impress or make them feel happy and appreciated. Even something as simple as a birthday cake can go a long way.