Webinar Series Summary
6 Steps to Perfect Qual: Step 6 – Maintaining Client Relationships – Webinar held on November 14, 2018
In this webinar in our series, we focused on Maintaining Client Relationships. We had the opportunity to chat with three panelists who are beyond experts on this topic. First up, Megan Nerz. Megan has been in the research business for about 35 years, and during that time, founded MLN Research, a small qualitative house with 5 moderators/researchers. Megan’s background is in psychology and applied communications research. Next is Sherry Behnke, Consumer Insights Manager with Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Sherry has been in a number of roles at Kimberly-Clark, including R&E, business process work, project management, and has had many interactions with business clients and vendors worldwide. Last, and certainly not least, we had Merrill Dubrow, President/CEO of M/A/R/C Research. In the research industry for about 38 years, M/A/R/C is one of the older market research companies in the industry. Merrill has been on a number of insights association boards, and is frequently a presenter at industry conferences around the country.
In this webinar, we focused on Q&A based around Maintaining Client Relationships, and real life experiences from our panelists to help researchers learn how to improve and maintain relationships with their existing clients, and also ways to get a foot in the door for some new ones!
Here’s what our panelists had to say!
We started by asking our panelists what they might do to make it easy for their clients to work with them.
- Do exceptional work, and always strive to exceed their expectations
- Really try to understand your clients. Not only should you ask “why didn’t we win this project?” but also “why DID we win this project, what did we do right?”
- The key is to see your clients as partners on a journey. Constant communication and responsiveness.
- Listen, ask a lot of questions, show a true interest. Check in so your clients don’t have to track you down.
Since partnership has been a buzz word this year, even on some of our other webinars, we asked our panelists if they used a guide or a road map to ensure that all of their client’s needs are being met.
- Really pay attention to what those needs are, and most important, always make your client feel like they are #1!!
- Make them feel like you are truly partners on a journey, holding hands along the way
- Have a debrief or work session after the project has executed. Discuss the insights that have come out of the work. Address the strategic decisions to be made. This helps clients feel a sense of control over the research when it’s discussed and laid out in the open. Everyone walks away with the same information.
- M/A/R/C incorporated a tool called the AcuMax Index. It’s a 3-minute personality profile tool that clients (if they are willing) and employees go through, and it works as a guide to help them better understand where their clients are coming from, and also helps align the best team from M/A/R/C to work with certain clients.
Next, coming from client’s perspective, we asked Sherry to give us an example of a process that a partner has used that stood out to her.
- Finding that perfect balance of how much to communicate, the timing, and what method is crucial. It makes a client feel that you are really listening
In every webinar, we like to include some do’s and don’ts from our experts. One thing you should always do when working with your clients, and one thing you should never do.
- DO always take responsibility for anything that might go wrong
- DON’T nickel and dime your clients
- DO always make your client feel like they are your #1 priority
- DON’T ever let them see you sweat
- DO always be realistic about project feasibility
- DON’T treat our project, and what you’re doing for us like it’s a service
Since technology always comes up one way or another, we asked our panelists if there is anything they are taking advantage of technology wise that assists them with their client relationships.
- Online panels, online communities, give us access to consumers that we were not able to access before, opening up new possibilities in the way we work with our clients.
- Social media, text, video meetings, open so many doors now in communication that we were not able to incorporate 10 years ago.
We then asked about working with our international clients, and how that might differ from working with clients here in the states.
- Pay attention to their culture, and things that are important to them, that might not be as important to our American clients
- Keep them up-to-date on what’s happening in the US. For example, understanding millennial parents, or trends and cultures that we’re seeing
- Build trust! Working with different cultures can be difficult, so do whatever you can to make it convenient for them.
Knowing that companies can have several different departments and layers, we asked our panelists what you can do to break into different departments, or even a new company.
- Know the products that the potential client works on, know the competition for those products, know the landscape. Do your homework!
- Do a 45 second video on why the client should chose you for a project, or choose to work with you in general. It makes it personal, humanizes the process.
- Stay in touch, even if you’ve never worked with them. Stay top of mind, find relevant thing to share with them that they might find interesting, such as something going on in their industry
We hope you found this summary to be helpful! If you didn’t register for this webinar you can listen to this webinar in its entirety, or download a free, transcribed version by clicking here.
Be on the lookout for our next webinar, which will be in February 2019. If you can’t wait until then, you can always view our on-demand webinars. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog so you can keep up with what is happening at L&E!
Until next year!
Your Research Design Engineer at L&E,