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The Importance Of Client Reporting And Communication During The COVID-19 Crisis

27 March 2020

It’s an understatement to say we are living through unprecedented times. We are constantly barraged by news – the increase in COVID-19 cases, the steps governments are taking to stop the spread, the financial effects on cities, organizations and individuals. The impact on both the health of our communities as well as our businesses is real.

For companies large and small to survive, this new world requires us to step up to our challenges, change the way we think about and conduct business, be flexible and adaptable, be proactive. It’s not business as usual – it’s a new norm that will test us for the foreseeable future.

What does that mean for marketing agencies and brands? We think communication is key. Communication with our peers, stakeholders and clients to improve relationships, generate trust and build partnerships. 

How and in what ways can we improve communication with those different groups? We’re hoping that some of the insights and concrete action items below – gleaned from leading news sources, feedback from marketers shared via social media, and team Swydo on leveraging our platform – can help.

Communication Within Your Organization

If your team hasn’t worked remotely before, that game has certainly changed. Stopping by someone’s desk or getting the update on a project at the coffeemaker have been removed from our daily routine. What challenges has this new reality thrown our way, and what can we do to address them?

Stay Connected, Keep Collaborating

We have to do the best to stay connected with other team members, not only for the health of our businesses but our mental health as well. Connecting with colleagues – along with your family and friends – reminds you that we are in this together. Many companies use text messaging tools like Slack to stay connected daily, but don’t discount how seeing familiar faces through platforms like Google Hangouts or Zoom can re-energize you. Whether it’s trading funny stories about your “co-workers” (pets/spouses/children), or an opportunity to tackle a serious business program, make sure to employ more interactive communication methods beyond email.

Maintain Productivity And Flexibility

Life as we know it is rapidly changing, and we can expect as many changes to seep into professional life. The folks at WordStream recently researched the impact of COVID-19 on Google Ads for 21 different industries. 

You may have clients who have to shutter their doors, who need to pause marketing spend – or who are poised to actually increase sales due to the nature of their business. Some clients will need more of your time than before to test out new marketing strategies to reclaim previous success. You may need to rethink and rearrange client and campaign management delegation to address these needs, focus more resources on some accounts to handle the demand.

Expect changes to the way you manage and optimize campaigns. You may need to switch off automated bidding and take a more manual approach to have more control. Being able to seamlessly share client campaign responsibilities will be critical, as well as the ability to assign, schedule and monitor tasks. Creating workflows and checklists will keep your team on tasks for projects, ensure proper time management and avoid miscommunication in a remote working environment.

Look For Opportunities

It is easy to get caught up in the negatives, something the media does regularly. Let’s not lose hope that there can be opportunities to focus on during these difficult times. If you’re seeing a dip on time needed on daily responsibilities, maybe it’s time to focus on projects that have been on the back burner until now.  Maybe it’s time to overhaul your website, or look for ways to digitize your sales strategies. Forbes contributor Bernard Marr highlights ways companies can and need to rethink their digital strategies in the coming months, adapting to not only to survive the pandemic but to thrive in spite of it. 

Communication With Your Clients/Stakeholders

Now that you are being forced to focus on serving and communicating with your clients (and prospects) digitally rather than in person, it’s also an opportunity to assess and improve your client relationships. They have worries, concerns, they are freaking out about their business. Be their partner, let them know you have their back, that you’ll get them through this and be stronger than ever. 

Your goal is to help them survive, even thrive in these difficult times. And that helps you build trust and retain their business. In fact, according to Harvard Business School, increasing your retention rate by even 5% can potentially increase profits up to 95% – a statistic we can all get behind during the difficult times we face. 

Here are some ideas to effectively communicate with your clients, from method to content to best practices, and how this will help you build trust, loyalty and retention when you need it most.

Engage Proactively And Often

Regular interactions with your clients will reassure them that you have their best interests at heart, important in normal times but even more important now. And through those regular interactions you’ll be addressing their concerns, collaborating on ideas to optimize efforts, and becoming the partner they need to weather through the storm that is COVID-19. 

Make digital work for you to personally interact with your clients through multiple channels. Use Calendly for scheduling regular appointments, and instead of always relying on the phone, make it more personal  and see who you are speaking with using Google Hangouts or Zoom for video calls. Customer support is of heightened importance during a crisis, make sure you are following these tips to make the most of those interactions. 

One of the most important methods of communication key to building trust and retention is reporting on marketing campaign performance. It’s up to you to lead and reassure your clients, to be the voice of calm and reason – and client reporting will help you do that. Tools like Swydo make it easy to set up and automate your client reports to be automatically shared. The customized reports and online dashboards you create will form the basis you interact with your client, giving them the insights they need to make decisions about marketing strategy and budget allocation. 

Client Reporting In Time Of Crisis

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.

Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Prize recipient

What we thought we knew a few weeks or months ago has ceased to be relevant today and tomorrow. We must adapt and relearn what makes a successful marketing campaign – and we also need to protect our clients from themselves but not letting them make rash decisions because they’ve panicked. While their fears about the current climate are real, they may be overlooking potential opportunities, such as building a stronger online presence. 

Take care of your clients by scheduling reports regularly and making sure they understand the data and how to make decisions with it. With a platform like Swydo, you can set target goals and monitor KPIs, enabling you and your client to track and compare performance overtime and make data-driven decisions. 

Monitor search volumes and decide if campaign changes are necessary, which campaigns to focus on, where to reallocate money and resources to improve ROI. In these uncertain days it’s important to review campaign progress on a daily/regular basis, something Swydo’s online dashboards make easy to do and accessible via your mobile device.

Client Communication Best Practices

  • Communicate transparently with your customers, the good and the bad. You’ll gain their trust for it, and their continued business.
  • Use report templates and email templates to maintain consistency and quality in your communication, increase brand awareness, and build trust.
  • Less can sometimes be more. Only include the KPIs and metrics in your reports your clients need to manage their business. 
  • Use Swydo’s Google tag manager function to make it easier for your clients to connect with you via chat through online dashboards.
  • Personal contact, even if it is not actually in person, is going to be pivotal moving forward to cement business relationships and build a partnership that is long lasting.

Keep Communicating, Be A Partner

Supporting one another in ways that are within our control is more important than ever before. COVID-19 will continue to impact businesses in countless ways for the coming months, so keeping communication open, transparent and proactive will go a long way to building trust and relationships. 

We want to assure our customers that Swydo continues to be dedicated to supporting you through improving our platform to make your job and your user experience easier. Our team is available by live demo, email or in-app chat to answer your questions and solve your issues. Please let us know how we can help you weather through these challenging months ahead, we are here for you.

Swydo’s online reporting and monitoring platform helps digital agencies, franchisors and brands successfully communicate marketing campaign results and insights through data visualizations and report/ dashboard automation.