While the novel coronavirus still rages through large parts of the world, some countries are showing a steady decline of cases and are starting to focus on disaster recovery and reopening businesses. 

Even if your main focus is still on surviving through the pandemic, it’s important to consider and plan for the long term business continuity of your agency.  

The reality is that the world will not be the same as it was before COVID-19 hit, and it’s crucial that you help your team prepare for a “new normal.”

We’ve created a survival guide of 12 essential business practices to adopt post-COVID to help your agency survive now and in the future.  

Focus on your clients

Keeping your clients happy isn’t new advice. Without clients, you would have no agency. Strong client management was already important before the pandemic. But having effective crisis communication and keeping your customers satisfied will become even more important for business after COVID-19.  

With the move to more remote interactions and fewer face-to-face meetings, the opportunities for misunderstandings and communication issues are higher than ever. 

The following tips are designed to help you improve your client management and increase your chances of landing more new clients while doing business after coronavirus. 

Shorten request and approval processes

One sure-fire way to wow your clients is to beat their expectations. An easy way to do this is to speed up the time it takes for your team to accept work requests, make changes, and complete projects for clients. 

By streamlining the work intake and approval process, you can reduce turnaround time and also increase consistency, thereby decreasing the chances of errors.  

The first step is to ensure your work request process is as efficient as possible. Using dynamic request forms to capture any requests for new work or changes to projects means that your team can review, approve, and assign new work quicker than ever. Plus, using forms cuts down on the chances of a request being missed or of critical information being left out of a request. 

To learn more about how to implement work request forms, check out our article on best practices for incoming work requests.

The second step is adopting interactive software to speed up the review and approval process. Using a tool such as Wrike Proof enables clients to review, markup, comment on, and approve deliverables right inside your project software. Not only does this shorten the turnaround time, it means all comments and approvals are stored in one central location. 

Want to know more about creating a strong approval process? We have a post on content approvals that may help. 

Case Study: TeamViewer, a global leader in remote access solutions, implemented Wrike, including Wrike Proof, to increase transparency in their approval and review processes and optimize their marketing campaigns. 

Be more transparent

Being transparent with your clients means maintaining open, two-way communication with them about the status of their projects. Transparency builds trust and confidence in your clients, increasing the chances that they will stay committed to your agency even through tough times. Research shows that 86% of people believe transparency is more important than ever before. 

Campaign transparency can help ensure both your clients and internal stakeholders are on board with and committed to agency projects.

One way to boost transparency is to incorporate a status reporting tool like Wrike Analyze into your campaign management. It can help you create and produce more valuable reports for your clients, granting them greater insight into project status

Read our guide on campaign transparency for seven more tips on increasing transparency with your clients. 

Case Study: Hootsuite adopted Wrike to improve visibility for internal and external stakeholders — allowing them to make their messaging a lot clearer for their customers. 

Promote collaboration

A key tenet of Agile (which we’ll discuss further in part 3 of this guide) is “customer collaboration over contract negotiation.”

In the past, a customer was often viewed as a necessary evil. They were someone you only dealt with twice during a project: at the beginning to gather requirements, and at the end for delivery. If you had to communicate during the middle of the project, it usually meant something was wrong. Nowadays, customers want to be involved and kept up-to-date, as we discussed in the last section. 

Fortunately, there are also some significant benefits of collaborating with your customer. There is a much lower chance of misinterpreting requirements or discovering too late in the game that a lot of rework is required. Changes become easier to manage, and customers end up happier when they are actively involved. 

Many of the tools you may already be using for internal collaboration can also work with your clients. Check out how collaborative work management software can improve your clients’ experiences

If your team is struggling to promote collaboration with difficult clients, this post on how to handle them may also help. 

Getting ready for business after COVID-19

Business after coronavirus will likely never be the same. Fortunately, a new way of life isn’t necessarily bad for business. 

These three tips can help you improve your disaster recovery efforts and increase your chances of long-term business continuity. 

Shortening your turnaround time on client requests, increasing transparency and communication with clients, and promoting more collaboration will enable you to enhance your clients’ experiences. 

These practices will not only help you retain valuable clients but also give you a competitive edge in gaining new ones.