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John Lee

The Other Side of PPC: Dealing with Clients

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customer-serviceThose of us who have been doing PPC for a long time have learned a lot and have a lot to share. When a new employee starts at your agency, this is the perfect opportunity to start sharing all of that knowledge. But you may notice that the focus is heavy on the nuts and bolts of PPC.

What about the other side of PPC? What about the customer service and client side of things?

For the sake of new PPC employee and all SEM agency brothers and sisters, let’s talk about some of the pitfalls you might discover in dealing with PPC clients. A few points that frequently come up about clients are around communication frequency, overly hands-on clients, and the elusive “quiet client.”

Communication With Clients

Communication is such an important aspect of being a top-notch agency PPC manager. We are required to build rapport with our clients, deliver news – good and bad – and maintain the overall relationship. Not to mention all of the hard work we do behind the scenes to manage the accounts! It’s a hard knock life, right?

Client communication can spiral out of control if not managed properly with non-stop phone calls or emails.

First and foremost, it is your job to set the tempo of communication. You have a lot of clients and you are tasked with making all of those clients feel like they are your #1 priority.

How can you do this effectively?

  • Set expectations from day 1 regarding call and email frequency and when that frequency is expected to decrease. Try to steer your clients to stick to scheduled calls.
  • Fill in the gaps between calls with proactive emails. These don’t have to epic novels – just write a quick note about a positive (or negative) trend just to remind the client you are there.
  • Respond to calls and emails in a timely manner. If the volume of email coming from a specific client is huge, take a play from Frank the picker’s playbook – bundle your responses to improve efficiency.

Above all else, provide kick ass service and amazing results and chances are communication will naturally decrease.

Dealing With Hands-On Clients

Every so often a client comes around that wants to know every detail or be involved in every change. It is the client’s right to be involved, so this can be tricky ground to cover.

Hands-on clients can unknowingly slow the pace of an accounts progression or worse, force the PPC manager to doubt their work and the status of the overall relationship.

On occasion, clients want you to put all changes into AdWords Editor sharing files (AES – similar to Microsoft Word Track Changes) for approval. But this is crippling. The transfer of files via email and the delay in review/approval time effectively destroys your ability to make timely changes.

How can you deal with the hands-on client?

  • Be clear from the onset of a client relationship that you are in charge. Managing PPC campaigns is your job – you are the expert – and you were hired for a reason. The client should let you do your job.
  • Reiterate the importance of communication frequency (it all rolls together, nicely, eh?) and assure them that you will relay a list of account changes and strategy.
  • Set a standard by providing a weekly plan at the onset of your engagement with a client. This way they have a good understanding of what will happen and when.
  • Try to make decisions about the future of PPC campaigns with the client. This is a form of compromise as you allow the client to feel involved in the process.

Dealing With the Quiet Client

Then there is the elusive “quiet client” who skips scheduled calls, never emails but still manages to pay the invoice on time. This may seem like the holy grail of every PPC client relationships, but be careful what you wish for! Client-agency relationships require back-and-forth communication to succeed.

The best clients care about the success of their PPC campaigns and trust in their PPC manager to make the right decisions for those campaigns. The “quiet client” goes too far in the other direction.

Clients who don’t care about the success of their campaigns or the quality of their relationship with you also don’t care if their business success or if they change agency vendors on a whim.

How can you deal with a “quiet client?”

  • Send regular emails regarding account performance and ongoing tasks.
  • If the client misses a phone call, reschedule it as soon as possible. Don’t let it slide.
  • Above all else, try to keep you, your agency and the success of the PPC campaigns top of mind for your client.

At the end of the day, every client just wants to be happy and comfortable with their decision to hire you as their PPC agency. Hopefully, you can find the appropriate middle ground where you are happy and comfortable, too!


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