Closing the loop
"Closing the loop" is all about being a great communicator, and finding ways to ensure your client is not left "hanging in the air".
Your client has signed off on an urgent print job by sending you an email with their approval to proceed. You immediately and diligently get the pdf file prepared by your designer, let you printer know the job is coming through, send the job off to print and smile because the process is all running on time and to plan. However, from your client's point of view, the loop hasn't been closed.
One day after receiving the email from your client, you receive another email from them, expressing concern. Did you receive their approval to proceed? Has the job gone to print? When will they be receiving delivery?
Closing the loop - in this instance, would have been a simple, quick response to their approval, saying "Thanks Ted, I will get the job away to print now." Another, follow-up loop-closer would've been an email saying "Hi Ted, letting you know that your job will be delivered Monday. If you don't see it by 3pm, please let me know."
Here are some ways for an Account Manager to "close the loop":
- Answer all emails, even if the answer is a short one, e.g:
- "Great! I will get back to you as soon as I have an answer for that."
- "Thank you."
- "Cheers. Talk with you soon."
- "Good question. I will find out and get back to you."
- "Just rushing out to a meeting now. Will email as soon as I get back."
- Give ETAs for:
- response time
- Confirm you have received a client's:
- order / request
- Do what you say you will do.
- Send a meeting report (call report) with action points.
- Write a reverse brief to show your understanding.
- Return phone calls.
- Reply to text messages.
- Respond to meeting invitations.
- Set an "out of office" notice on your email if you are going to be out of the office for the day, on annual leave, or away sick.
- If you are going to be away, ensure one of your colleagues is prepared to help your client if needs be - then let your client know who they can contact in your absence.
Simple communication techniques - such as closing the loop - are easy to implement, greatly appreciated by all, and are one more step on your road to Account Management superstardom!
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