At Cleveland Design, the majority of our clients have been with us for 10 plus years. We have never been an agency that shows up, does a project, then disappears to hunt for the next new client. We develop client relationships that stand the test of time – through leadership changes, mergers and acquisitions, budget cuts and now… a global pandemic!
How we at Cleveland Design build trust with clients and turn that trust into lasting relationships:
Developing trust starts with honest and open communication, and great communication starts with listening. Learning about the client, company, culture and brand is the first step in setting a solid foundation for a trusting relationship. While gaining knowledge in all areas is important, getting to know our client is the key that makes it all work. We learn about their issues and needs, their successes and failures, and their overall long-term goals. Also important is understanding their role in the company, and how that figures into the hierarchy of workflow and approvals. This is essential because it affects and supports their day-to-day decision making processes. While opening that line of communication with a client, we keep in mind this is a two-way street. We share with them our own mission and goals – people like to learn about each other!
Adapt to their work style and company culture
Cleveland Design is based in Boston, but we are doing graphic design projects for clients all over the world. Accommodating different time zones is a given for us, but adapting to a client’s work style and company culture is invaluable. This goes beyond knowing the brand and its mission. It drills down into the understanding of other work cultures around the globe as well as individual work styles. We build trust by accommodating and adapting our own work style to theirs. We want our clients in Europe to feel just as confident in our relationship as our clients in Boston.
Educate and share knowledge
We don’t assume a client understands the expertise and knowledge we bring to the table. They hire us for our skills, but we sometimes find they may not fully realize all of the services we offer, or the processes needed to implement solutions for their goals. During this phase it is as important for us to share the breadth of our knowledge and insight. Additionally, with new clients, we can find ourselves in a position of not knowing the intricacies of their markets and goals. Listening, and learning about their business creates the foundation that allows us to develop a true partnership. Embracing this exchange of information leads to better workflow, open communication, and a successful execution of the overall plan.
Go the extra mile
We find engaging with clients at every level of service is a great way to expand our offerings while giving them confidence that all of their needs will be taken care of. Offering services to help round out an entire campaign builds cohesiveness and trust. That trust helps the client feel they can depend on our team to be a true partner moving forward. It also ensures that all touchpoints of the brand we are helping build are implemented successfully.
There is nothing taboo about getting to know clients on a personal level. At Cleveland Design we encourage doing so, and it has been a key factor in building trusting, long-term client relationships. With these client-based friendships, of course, we are cognizant of making the friendship level appropriate. We wouldn’t expect to show up at their backyard bbq, but knowing a bit about how their day is going, was their commute awful, how is the home schooling of their kids working out, creates a communication tone that shows we see them as individuals and not just the company they work for. Empathy is a powerful trust builder, and it allows us to adjust how we interpret and implement solutions with our clients.
At Cleveland Design, we consider our clients to be our most valuable asset. We appreciate the relationships we have successfully created by building trust and embracing open communication. Not only are we hired to do what we love, we have formed lasting relationships with people we love working with for years to come.