Part 4: What in the World is a CE?
Love and Belonging
A behind-the-scenes look at the Wheelhouse DMG Client Experience experience
Love and Belonging. No, it’s not a lesser known Tolstoy sequel, but instead the middle level of the well-known Hierarchy of Needs pyramid, a classification system describing society’s universal needs devised by psychologist Abraham Maslow in the 1940’s (see blog post #1).
According to Maslow, once humans secure their physiological needs (see blog post #2) and safety needs (see blog post #3), their motivations turn towards social harmony. It might seem odd to associate love and belonging with digital marketing, but at Wheelhouse DMG, we feel it is at the heart of our Client Experience.
Remember the café from our previous posts? It quickly became your favorite place. At first, you were treated with the utmost attention and care – it was the honeymoon phase. As the months went by, the baristas weren’t as attentive, and your order started having a sloppy presentation. The ‘spark’ was lost. In our working context (a digital marketing agency), this spark is the consistency of care that CEs should bring to every interaction; not just at the beginning, but through every step of our relationship.
From the start of every client relationship, we work hard to make sure our client(s) feel a connection to our team. We strive to set them at ease during each interaction, to ask them about their successes and struggles, and to listen well. And as we listen, we try to hear if there is more being communicated between the lines.
This may look like asking a client how they are doing, and picking up on a pause before they answer. If there are blockers on the client’s side, we strive to understand how and what might be causing them and troubleshoot creatively to find a different way in which we can help them move forward. If there are decisions we feel the client is making emotionally and not logically, we surface these gently and discussions that may be uncomfortable. And we always look to recognize occasions that matter to our client(s), professionally and personally. Here are a few other methods our CEs apply to client interactions:
- When they come into the office
- We have educated ourselves on any cultural differences ahead of time
- A team member is at the front door to welcome them
- A tour of the office is offered to familiarize them with bathroom and kitchen locations
- Each meeting begins and ends with friendly conversation and an opportunity to voice additional thoughts, questions, or concerns
- We recognize key moments and send small, personal notes or gifts
- We differentiate the moments when we lead vs when we collaborate
- Project Delivery
- We familiarize and re-familiarize ourselves with our client’s products and services
- Each internal team member understands our client’s goals, challenges, and aspirations and works to ensure client success – both personally and corporately
- We look for opportunities to express helpfulness and stewardship
Love & Belonging Over the Past Year:
Talk to each of our clients and they will describe how the past year has unfolded in ways they could never have imagined. Each story would be different, and each would offer a unique perspective on how digitally-enabled businesses are managing in this new reality. With very few exceptions, our clients are thriving, with many hitting performance highs greater than any we’ve previously seen.
We work with two leading healthcare organizations who are at the forefront of the global response to COVID – together they have devoted millions of dollars and thousands upon thousands of hours to caring for and protecting patients, and to identifying and testing a vaccine. And, on a smaller but still deeply meaningful level, we work with another client whose response to the Black Lives Matter movement has been (in part) to reflect on the level of diversity reflected by the images on their e-commerce site and to work with deliberation to better highlight the diversity of their communities in the images and products they present.
The actions of these clients are an example of how to be of service to those around us and to do what we can to make the world a better place. This type of behavior exemplifies love and belonging and is something we try to mirror at Wheelhouse with all of our client interactions, and within our greater community.
How can we use our success to help those around us? We have had the privilege to be a part of the conversation with each of these clients, sometimes acting as sounding boards, other times challenging assumptions, but we always strive to behave with empathy and kindness.
Striving for a connection with our client(s), within this idea of love and belonging, does not mean everything must be rainbows and unicorns. A connection made at this level of the hierarchy actually allows for more space for conflicting ideas or opinions. Trust has been built and exists within the relationship so that we, collectively, may dig deep, explore those differences, and come to a resolution. That space provides an opportunity for greater growth forward which is, at the end of the day, what our clients desire and what we, as CEs, want for them.