Where Are You Going?


I’ve been thinking a lot about the Cheshire Cat lately, and something he said to AliceIf you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll do—not an exact quote, but it’s a close enough rendition of his wise advice to inform our countdown to 2016.

The grinning feline’s message: you need to know where you’re going in order to find the best path forward. Ideas are good starts, but without a goal, they are just ideas. In our work with clients, the path is clear because we know the goal: help them advance programs that make the air cleaner, roads safer, energy more efficient, and communities more sustainable through communications and outreach decidedly focused on measurable outcomes.

ASC has a continuous evaluation process to promote changes that make our work shamelessly client focused, our processes streamlined, workplace healthier, our team smarter, and our collective voice more impactful, and in 2016, we’re again raising the bar, not with resolutions, which seem to dissipate nearly as soon as they are expressed—as evidenced by the treadmill-turned-clothes-hanger in many a bedroom corner—but by knowing where we’re headed next:


We’ll spend energy where it counts next year. There’s great value in conversations and face-to-face meetings to clarify ideas and strengthen connections. We’ll make more time for in-person moments next year by implementing new technologies to reduce time, cost, and waste for ASC and our clients.

Ask for feedback.

It’s already ASC policy to ask for a “how’d we do” meeting after a major deliverable. We’re taking it a step further this year and adding customer satisfaction interviews to learn what we could do more, or less, or differently, to improve our services.

Find balance.

At the end of any given day, we often find we’ve hardly looked up from work—and that isn’t good for creativity or health. This year, we’re introducing a program to encourage all of us to take a break, take a walk, take a breath.

Learn something new.

We’re celebrating learning in 2016. Everyone at ASC will start the year by identifying something new to learn or do, and we’ll pause in June to check in with each other.

Pay it forward.

As a women-owned business since our first day 23 years ago, in 2016, we’ll add speaking up for women in business to the ways we grow. Keep an eye out for our blog and social posts on how we are supporting women in business.

There’s a big Cheshire-like grin floating over the close of 2015 now that we’ve decided where we’re going, and most importantly, why.

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Six Steps to Wrap Up Smart Client Relations


The December holidays are upon us. And when it comes to spreading good cheer, this season offers the perfect opportunity  to give the gift that keeps on giving—client contact. Whether you’re a fast-growing, women-owned small business like ours or a large firm with generations of history behind you, a solid plan for client relations is your lifeline—and turning the social good will of the holidays into smart customer outreach can put you and your firm top of mind.

Here are six steps to turn your annual “Ho Ho Ho” e-card into the foundation of a relationship-boosting customer communication strategy.

Let’s get started—pull out your contact list, check it twice, and be sure to send greetings before people start traveling for the holidays.  Then launch your new approach with these six steps:

1. Learn to like and share. Endorse your customers’ online content—everyone appreciates the support, and they are likely to return the favor. Use LinkedIn, corporate Facebook pages, and Twitter to engage with your customers.

2. Join the conversation. Do they blog?  Do you?  Be sure you read your customers’ blogs, leave a comment, and share the content.  And when you post your own material, send your customers an email letting them know the new content is up—with a link to the content to make it easy to find—and why they may want to give it a look.

3. Be inclusive. When you blog, tweet, or post, don’t be shy about tagging a client or linking to their web page.

4. Celebrate success. If you hear about a client success story, award, recognition, or new business win, send congratulations fast and with fanfare. Then: re-read steps 1, 2, and 3.

5. Share your news. When it’s your turn to share an accomplishment, spread the word! This not only creates buzz, it will notify clients and prospects about capabilities or practice areas they were not aware you had.

6. Make it personal. Happy life events your clients have mentioned are excellent reasons to reach out, but only if you follow the golden rule of online communication: be selective (you want to over-deliver on value, not volume); considerate (taking it personal will flop if you seem like a stalker); and genuine (if it’s not straight from the heart, it goes straight in the trash).

Start putting these evergreen tips to use today—and use them to ring in a new customer relations plan for 2016—be sure to check back December 31 for ASC’s new year’s resolutions for business success!

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