Whether it’s a new name, new team members, new pricing, or a new service, changes at an agency are inevitable. And most of the time, your agency will need to communicate any significant changes to your clients.

Regardless of whether the change is positive or negative, it’s important to follow certain steps when communicating anything that affects your clients so that they aren’t caught off guard or become confused or worried.

A well-planned communication strategy can ensure you announce any agency changes in a way that clients clearly understand what’s happening and continue to trust in your team.

Here are six ways to effectively communicate campaign or organizational changes to your clients.

1. Start with your internal team

If your team members feel confused or unsure about why a change is happening, then so will your clients.

Managers or team leaders should communicate any significant organizational changes to their internal teams first, and outline precisely how team members should relay the information to their clients.

An internal team meeting is a good first step. Team leaders can explain any new roles and responsibilities, and most importantly, how the change will impact clients.

During the team meeting, team members can document any frequently asked questions (FAQs) and make sure everyone has access to the same information when discussing the news with clients.

2. Be proactive and explain why you’re making the change

Your clients should hear any big announcements or changes from someone on your team, and not your competition, the press, etc.

If you need your clients to accept bad news, then being proactive and explaining it up front, and as quickly as possible, is the best approach. This allows your team to control the conversation, and it demonstrates that you value being transparent and honest with your clients.

Even if the news isn’t bad, clients will appreciate that you brought it to their attention as soon as possible.

3. Anticipate any concerns and prepare to address them

After discussing any changes with your clients, it’s important to anticipate any concerns and be prepared to answer them.

FAQ pages are one option, but you may need to organize a follow-up call or more detailed email to address any concerns after the initial conversation.

Be honest with how the changes will affect your clients and what you will be doing to minimize any negative impacts it may have on their business as well as the specific services you provide for them.

4. Give clients a way to voice their concerns and listen

Depending on the situation, you may need to provide your clients with a way to offer their feedback and voice any concerns about your agency changes.

The sooner you can designate an online form or support team member for clients to contact with any questions or concerns, the smoother the process will be for your agency.

Giving your clients a platform to communicate directly with you will help them feel valued and can even provide your agency with new ideas for the future.

5. Show appreciation for your loyal clients during times of change

Businesses across all industries benefit from customer loyalty programs, and agencies can benefit too. Especially during times of change, providing an incentive is a great way to get long-time, loyal clients to accept something or someone new.

For example, if you’ve hired a new marketing manager that will be the new point of contact for many projects, inviting your clients to lunch to meet the new manager before they begin working together can facilitate the transition.

If you’re introducing a new service, you can offer your loyal clients a discount on the service first or offer them a gift card in exchange for testing and providing feedback on the new offering.

6. Give clients time to adjust to the change

Any time you introduce your clients to a change, you’ll need to give them time to adjust.

If possible, use multiple touch points over a long period of time to check-in with how clients are feeling and what you can do to continue improving your services.

Remember: the words you use matter

For any significant changes, an in-person meeting with your clients is always better than an email. It allows you to pick up on their body language and facial expressions to determine how they are handling the news and whether or not they are comfortable with it.

Regardless of how you decide to communicate agency changes, you should also pay close attention to the words you use. Synectics Media offers these excellent tips to follow:

  • Say “we” – Using “we” will position you as part of your client’s team. You and your client are both working towards the same end goal. Using “I” hints that you’re a third party while the use of “we” fosters a collaborative effort.

  • Limit saying “you” – The word “you” can come across as accusatory, especially in situations where tensions are high, so try not to say it too much.

  • Use words of confirmation – If you have a feeling that your client doesn’t understand what you’re telling them, check in with them. It will not only show that you’re a good listener, but it will allow you to make sure that they are understanding the correct information and didn’t miss any important details.

As an agency, change is inevitable. With that said, how you communicate any change to clients will heavily dictate whether the change affects your agency positively or negatively.

A thoughtful communication plan is the most effective tool in maintaining positive client-agency relationships, so make sure your team has one when significant changes occur.