What to offer as a digital agency to go beyond marketing?
Mexico City, May 17th, 2018
Masclicks , a Mexico City-based creative agency has plans for great expansion in the near future. Its ambitions are not just within the motherland but also to expand into new markets. We talked to Cristina Pineda, Head of Strategy at Masclicks to find out what are the foundations for the company’s growth and success. In a nut shell, the answer is insight knowledge of the markets and a deep understanding of technology, and a relentless wish to exceed expectations for its customers.
“Here, at Masclicks, we have a huge knowledge of Mexican and Latin American markets,” says Cristina and adds, “We know that all over the world there are companies that are looking for agencies that could help them to run strategies and campaigns in those countries, and of course in many others. To those companies I just want to say one thing: ‘Here we are, ready to help out with whatever’.”
Cristina is not just a pretty young executive, she has a B.S. degree in Communications with a Specialisation in Advertising from the Universidad del Valle de México. She also has a diploma in Project Management obtained at Stratominds a PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.). She is a Certified Scrum Master and has managed digital projects for diverse industries including telecom, insurance, food, fitness, real estate, financial services, to name but a few.
Having joined Masclicks in 2012, at the tender age of 22 years old, she has become a partner at the company on 2015 and she is in charge of creating digital strategies for, in her words “all our beloved clients.”
Before Masclicks she worked at Grupo Prisa as assistant in Alfaguara Communication Department.
What are the best practices to develop excellent customer relationship?
I would say that trust is the key to an excellent customer relationship, if your customers don’t trust you it would be harder to build a strong relationships with them.
To win your customers trust, you have to understand their business purpose, this purpose is usually closely related to their life purpose and by understanding this it is easier to see the person behind the customer.
Knowing the person behind the customer will lead you to ask about his interests, goals, points of view and ways to do things. If you are going to manage their money and their projects you better become that person that understand perfectly their needs, their vision and their feelings.
Finally I would add that you ought to be honest. It’s fantastic when you can agree with your customers in a lot of decisions, but sometimes you need to disagree with them for their own good.
Can you give me an example of when you have worked with multiple clients at the same time and how you managed?
Since I started working at Masclicks I have been interacting with multiple clients at the same time. The way that I manage this is having a virtual board for each client, in those virtual boards I concentrate all the information that I have from the clients, what we have to do for them, what their main goal is, what the important dates are, when the meetings are scheduled, and every other single aspect of each account. Every day I check the virtual boards one by one with my team in order to know the status and help with the follow up of the activities.
I like to make phone calls to my clients or even have informal meetings to communicate the status of their accounts because it’s important for them know what’s happening on our side, they don’t have to ask for it, one of our goals is keep them informed in order to transmit trust, control, communication, and empathy.
How do you monitor and review the delegated responsibilities and prioritise your workload?
I check the dashboard of our project management tool every day, I check what is pending from each person in my team has and check with my project management team the priorities of each account in order to define the weeks workflow.
What tools do you use as a manager to plan your activities as well as that of your team?
I use Asana to manage activities, Tick track to track the time we spend in each activity, Wunderlist to follow up things and pendings that aren’t of the operation, Momentum for remind me some big pendings in the day, Hangouts to communicate with my team, and Google Drive to share and work on same documents.
Also, at the moment we are about to launch our own time tracking tool for companies that will give them insights about the amount of time they work on a project so they can optimise where necessary. We want to position Masclicks not just as a marketing team but also as a professional developing team.
Additionally we are about to offer new complimentary services as production or professional content generation.
Can you tell me about an example where you had to resolve an issue between a creative team and a client?
In one occasion we presented a creative design for a new website, the client loved the features but wasn’t very sure about the layout. However the creative team was pretty sure about the design, he wanted something more conservative.
To resolve this problem we did some user experience tests between the two layouts, one conservative and the one that the creative team had proposed. The first layout won, and by presenting the results to our client, he understood why the creative design worked better.
How would you deal with an angry customer? How do you communicate bad news?
We have a protocol to follow in the case a client is angry, the protocol consists of 5 steps:
1.- Listen to the client, don’t argue, don’t defend yourself or the company.
2.- Apologize to the client, it doesn’t have to be an admission of guilt, at this point it’s necessary apologize sincerely for the problems you’re client had to cope with and not to come up with any excuses.
3.- Recognize and validate your customer feelings.
4.- Clarify the situation in order to avoid misunderstandings.
5.- Rectify the situation, offer a solution, a contact, a response that really helps your client.
If you have to communicate bad news, do it as soon as possible, don’t wait until the situation gets worse. It’s always better to immediately make a phone call, or have an emergency meeting. Furthermore you should always be prepared to be able to offer a “b” or “c” plan. Remember that most of the time the way you face the bad situation is more important than the bad situation itself.
Could you share three important things or experiences that have brought you to where you are today?
1. I would say that the first important thing was the decision to be in charge of the Account team with no previous experience. That pushed me to learn a lot about the best practices in project management but also about other areas of expertise.
2. By working shoulder to shoulder with my team I learned that your most value resource are people. You can’t reach your goals without them, so you have to focus on giving them the best possible conditions, encouragement and support.
3. Good things take time, many times I worked late to do an express delivery, most of those times the deliveries were changed, canceled or useless. I decided to stop the express deliveries for the good of my team and my client’s business.
What makes your city special?
Definitely the people. They are always going to make you feel comfortable and at home. They give colour, flavour and humour to every place in the city.
Where do you go if you want to get inspired?
My family has a house in countryside, sometimes I go there to see the spectacular sunsets and the great starry nights, that’s something that really gets me inspired.
By Geny Caloisi.