When it comes to working with your clients there’s a big difference between being agreeable and easygoing, and being grateful to be working with your clients.
Let’s face it: clients can be difficult to work with (to say the least). But fixating on their inadequacies or their trying idiosyncrasies isn’t a productive agency-client relationship strategy (even if it’s a short term relationship). It’s also bad for business and for your own health.
There’s been a lot of talk about the psychological and personal benefits of gratitude. However, few discuss how gratitude in business and agency settings can be valuable and beneficial. That’s why we’re focusing on gratitude and client relationships!
In this article you will:
- Learn about gratitude.
- Learn why gratitude is beneficial for your agency, team, and business.
- Download free thank you e-cards to send to your clients!
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Why express gratitude towards your clients? Let’s explore that question.
What is Gratitude?
Simply put, gratitude is an expression of positive feelings of appreciation.
A small expression of gratitude includes saying thanks to someone who held the door for you.
However, gratitude need not be reduced to a simple thank you. It’s most effective when it’s understood as a deeper appreciation for something, someone, or oneself.
Gratitude impacts us beneficially when it’s considered a long-term, deep personal characteristic.
Why Is Gratitude Beneficial for Your Agency?
In case you haven’t heard, gratitude is an incredibly powerful cognitive tool for personal well-being and mental health. That’s exactly why your team should demonstrate gratitude in a business setting.
1. Gratitude feels good and creates new opportunities.
Multiple studies have shown that simply saying thank you to an acquaintance or someone you know makes that person more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. It also feels good to thank and be thanked.
A simple thank you can lead to new opportunities and it makes you feel good—imagine that!
Think about it. Doesn’t it feel nice to be thanked after holding the door for someone? If you disagree, think about how you feel when you hold the door for a stranger and they don’t acknowledge you.
Doesn’t it feel even better when a friend thanks you for doing them a favour that was an inconvenience to you? It feels good to be appreciated and acknowledged in an everyday scenario.
Imagine the outcome of simply saying thanks to a lead who reached out to your agency with an inquiry.
You would leave an impression on them. You would make them feel great. You would make them feel appreciated before even working with them!
They might want to explore that relationship further and become an official business partner.
2. Gratitude leads to happiness and personal well-being.
The power of gratitude is that it doesn’t stop at new opportunities. Gratitude reduces toxic emotions such as frustration, regret, and envy. Robert Emmons (a leader in gratitude research) has found that gratitude increases happiness. It also reduces depression.
Why? Because gratitude, a type of positive psychology, allows us to focus on the present and celebrate it. It teaches us to value what we have in our own lives, rather than what we lack.
Sure. There are those clients who get you hot and bothered because they’re seemingly impossible to deal with. But, if you try to focus on what’s good about them, the negatives won’t seem so bad.
What can you focus on?
Maybe it’s as simple as the fact that this client is supporting your agency business. Or, maybe it’s taking a positive outlook on the hardships that came with one specific partnership. Whatever it is, spin it around. Show yourself how much each client has taught you about partnership, agility, growth, people skills, and hard work.
The capacity to be grateful for each and every client, no matter how difficult they are is an exercise in being resilient, thankful, and present.
Consider this: what if you thanked your client for challenging your team in a new way, and for working with your team through hardships? That would make them feel great! It might make them want to recommend you to their network.
3. Gratitude teaches us to be more kind—even to our critics.
Gratitude teaches us to behave kindly toward others rather than retaliate against them—even when they’re unkind to us. One study showed that respondents with a grateful mindset who received negative feedback from critics expressed more empathy (rather than revenge) towards their critics.
Does a critical client sound familiar? Every marketing team has been there. You’ve got that one client who’s critical about everything from colour choice to your amazing high-level idea. Sure it’s frustrating, but focusing on it isn’t productive.
Approaching life and business with a gratitude mindset is a long-term goal. Despite that, it has fantastic benefits for anyone who works with teams, or who’s in a creative industry.
Criticism is hard to swallow, but it can be downright suffocating if it’s digested with feelings of anger, revenge, and resentment. When that’s the case, criticism cant be used as a productive tool for growth.
In addition to that, reacting negatively to a client’s criticism can damage your relationship beyond repair. Even if you don’t intend on working with that client in the future, you don’t want to develop a reputation that you’re difficult to work with.
In addition, being empathetic towards your clients can help you understand where their criticism stems from: maybe fear, distrust, dissatisfaction, or insecurity.
If you can level with them, then you’re one step closer to making changes that can make them happier and more productive business partners.
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How Can You Express Gratitude Towards Your Clients?
Gratitude is both a long- and short-term psychological disposition. So, you should approach it with long- and short-term goals. The best way to start is with baby steps. Becoming a more grateful person happens over time, and the bigger steps you take over time, the more benefit your team will get from it.
If you think this mindset should be on your agency’s to-do list, then your gratitude game plan should go as follows:
Step one: Take baby steps
- Acknowledge that your agency can do more to feel grateful. The reality is that everyone can do more to feel grateful.
- Start by simply saying thanks at every chance you get.
Step two: Condition a gratitude mindset
- Keep an agency gratitude journal. Your team should write down what they are grateful for in the workplace.
- Thank your colleagues on a regular basis, and find a way to feel grateful for the things they do.
- Keep independent client gratitude portfolios. Make notes of qualities that you like about each client relationship and campaign.
- End your team and client meetings on a high note.
- Refrain from using a negative mindset and language when talking about client challenges.
Step three: Set actionable, long-term goals
- Call up your past clients and thank them for their partnership—even if it was a rocky one.
- Use positive and we language when you speak to your clients, or write thank you letters to them.
- Send tokens of gratitude that match the relationship and experience you had with each client. Making this an individualized effort will force you to reflect on each partnership as a unique experience. It will also help your agency stand out as being awesome!
- Set a sustainable plan to keep gratitude at the forefront of your agency’s mind.
We want to help you facilitate gratitude in the workplace! Please feel free to download these e-cards. They’re designed to facilitate gratitude-filled client-agency relationships! Go nuts. Send them out! We would be grateful that you did 😉.
Save these e-cards and send them to your clients (right click + save image)!
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