Why is it important for the customer to participate in the project

This is an unusual article based on the observations of the executive director of the Mello agency. We tell you how the client’s involvement in the project affects the result.

There are always two main roles on a project: the customer and the performer.
On the part of the customer, both the business owner and employees can act, for example, marketers, analysts, programmers, sales managers. The performer is most often represented by a project manager and narrow specialists: for contextual advertising, targeting, SEO, and data analysis.
In order for the project to live and develop, the customer can not go aside. In this article, based on the experience of Mello, we will explain why.
What can’t be done on a project without a customer
Let’s start with the fact that the owner or marketer in his business is always better oriented than any agency: to understand the specifics, you need to live with the goods or services produced.
When a business starts working with a digital agency, its representatives must understand that there are key stages of the project that cannot be completed without the participation of the customer. These include:
Immersion in the business-providing information about the company, product, basic data and access necessary to analyze the current situation.
The definition of objectives, budgets, timelines.
Approval and adjustment of plans.
Consideration and approval of the contractor’s proposals.
Analysis of the results.
It is also important how quickly the customer responds to the agency’s requests. Here are some examples.
Situations where the speed of the project launch depends on the timing of approval
Approving semantics, creatives for advertising campaigns, budgets, enabling and using new tools, and test results.
Consent to work that requires the involvement of specialists from outside-integration of the 1C system with CRM, site adjustment, landing page creation.
Priority implementation of technical tasks for SEO promotion by programmers who are on the customer’s side. In practice, we were faced with the fact that the client’s specialists were overloaded, we had to change the implementation time, accordingly, the results were postponed.
Feedback on the quality of traffic from ads and leads. There are projects where all the analytics are configured, we can track the user’s path to the conclusion of the transaction, but this is an ideal situation. In most cases, there is no end-to-end analytics, so you need the customer’s opinion about the leads. Their quality is an important indicator, as it serves as a basis for adjustments in the promotion strategy.
With good interaction between the customer and the contractor, as well as quick feedback, the results will not be long in coming.
What happens to a project when the customer is not involved
We will tell a collective story about how the project fades away, in which the customer ceases to participate.
Imagine the beginning of a joint work, everyone is cheerful and cheerful: an interesting project is planned with excellent results.
And here is the first coordination, for example, of semantics, changes on the site, the introduction of analytics, layouts, and the launch of advertising. There is no feedback, we have to move the beginning of the project. Or the customer says: “Yes, yes, yes, we will do everything,” but does not immediately do it, again the deadlines are delayed.
Due to the constant delays, the motivation and interest of both sides begins to fall.
But still, although with a delay, the performer launches the project, gets the first impressive results. A customer who is not involved does not understand whether the contractor did a good job. For example, the site has a complex topic, and the agency brought it to the TOP 80% of requests. Or contextual advertising used to give 50 leads for 1000 rubles, and with the new approach – 500 leads for 300 rubles. But the client can’t appreciate it, because he is not particularly interested in the project. It happens that the customer does not even consider whether he has added profit from working with the agency.
As a result, against the background of delays, long approvals, claims, misunderstandings, any results do not look very good. And the result of the work is an important motivator for any person, both the performer and the customer. If the result is positive, you want to work on the project and develop it, and when everything is through force, the interest disappears, the interaction becomes sluggish and gradually fades.
At Mello, we also had cases, but not many, when the project was terminated due to the lack of interest of the customer. These were situations in which the time for approval was delayed, questions were answered for a long time, and, accordingly, the launch was postponed for a long time. Naturally, the results were not the highest. Looking for the culprit is ineffective, but it also happens.
How to support the customer’s interest in the project

Agencies should not forget that the motivation of some clients decreases over time, which means that preventive measures are needed.
Clear regulations

The main advice is to stay on the shore, at the very beginning, agree on such moments of interaction:

frequency of meetings,
ways to communicate,
fixing decisions,
reporting on work.

For example, we agreed that on Mondays at three o’clock in the afternoon in Skype summing up the results of the past week, and no one should miss such calls. But you also need to be formal: you don’t need to just sit for a while. It is best to ask questions, offer ideas. It happens that they are shy, afraid to look stupid, and as a result there is a misunderstanding.

It is also important that both parties understand how to respond quickly to messages. It is normal for someone to respond to a letter during the day, and for someone even 10 minutes is long. There are certain standards: responses to emails take 24 hours, messengers are faster. And calls are only for solving urgent issues.
The control of the project managers

The second point is that the project manager needs to keep his finger on the pulse. If he sent an email with approval and did not receive a response, then he should not sit and wait. It is better to remind you, since there are different situations: from getting an email in spam to “forgotten”.
Convenient solutions

Make working with you convenient, for example, an automated report in Power BI, where the customer will look and perceive all the information, is much more attractive than waiting for an upload from Google Analytics, which also needs to be understood.
Partnerships

Agency services are not a service sector, but B2B assistance to partners . You and the customer are in the same boat, so it is very important to treat each other respectfully and correctly.
The customer should read the reports, if something is not clear, ask for an explanation. Sometimes, everything is fine on the project, and there is a temptation not to look at the documents from the contractor. But it’s really important. And not because the performer wants to show off his merits. Just the customer should be aware of it: what could have been done better, and where it was not allowed to fail.
Solving interaction issues
One of the” bottlenecks ” of cooperation is the establishment and control of communication between the customer’s specialists and the agency’s employees. To solve this problem, the client must make an effort.
The agency can also take over the organizational issues. For example, in Mello, we have project managers on each project. And we take on such tasks as contacting programmers, designers, accounting and other employees of the client.
As a result, the customer does not spend time connecting their own and other people’s specialists and is more interested in the project. The head of the client company can generally participate only in summing up the results, if there are people whom he trusts to solve current issues.
Conclusions
It’s time to take stock. There are always two sides to a project. It’s like a dance, where everyone performs their part. And if each tries to take the other’s place, there will be chaos.
Any customer, even if they are very involved in the first stages, may lose interest. This will affect the results, and then the motivation of the performer.
It is important for agencies to keep in mind this “peculiarity” of clients and to think through ways to maintain the interest of customers: to build partnerships, to agree on ways of communication that are convenient for both parties, to take on organizational issues, to think through convenient reports, and so on.

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