By Sally Masten Nov 29, 2016
Where can you find Andi Coziahr?
“Many mornings,” she says, “I’m working the client relations role and answering emails and helping ADs resolve some issues, but maybe that afternoon, I’m out on appointments. Yesterday, I met with four of our clients, and today, I’m working from home!”
If your head is spinning just thinking about all that, you should know that Coziahr holds three different roles at N2 simultaneously. She’s an Area Director publishing neighborhood directories, a Publishing Assistant who helps other ADs manage clients, and she started up a new official role in Client Relations just last June.
Oh, yes — and she is also a mom to three kids who keep her plenty busy. In the summers, she says, “I’m still able to take them to the zoo or the pool and do those sorts of things, and my job is flexible enough for that.”
As someone taking on three different positions and three children, Andi clearly knows about challenges. But taking on these challenges also means that Andi has gained some really valuable insights over the years, specifically in regards to building lasting, solid relationships with her clients.
Coziahr has worked with N2’s business partners — the folks who advertise in the publications — for eight years, and she’s heard rave reviews from a lot of them. And that’s not just because she brings them cookies once in a while.
She explains that part of the power of advertising with N2 is that “our neighborhood magazines are the only way they can really get in front of their target audience.” After all, people just throw junk mail straight in the trash, they’ve tuned out the billboards and flyers, and so these magazines are one last little hotspot of attention.
Coziahr notes, too, that to build a successful brand, companies “need to be in front of people several times and reach out to them in many different directions in order for them to get your message,” and N2’s publications are a great way to do just that.
Another important advantage is that neighbors talk to each other. “Between the ad and the word of mouth it builds in the neighborhood,” Coziahr notes, “one job could well become ten or twelve in a year’s time.” One kitchen remodeling job might build into an empire of kitchen remodeling jobs; one house cleaning job might quickly lead to a whole block of clean houses.
As just one example, Coziahr recalls a realtor who advertised with her. She says, “When I met with him, he said, ‘I know that these are the people I want to be in front of. This is where I’m building my brand; this is where I want to be.’”
Though she has since closed that publication, she says, “He would have been a client for life. I know that.”
One of the reasons that Coziahr’s clients stick with her and with N2 is that she’s paid close attention to the best ways to work with them.
She doesn’t just read articles about “How to Best Manage Your Clients.” She’s kept her AD role in part so she can stay current. She’s out there figuring it out. And in her new role as a Client Relations manager, she’s turning her firsthand experience into valuable assistance for other ADs.
And what works, in Coziahr’s experience? Thoughtfulness, consistency, and integrity.
“I think it’s important,” she notes, “that as ADs we put ourselves in a client’s shoes.”
For example, how often would a client want to hear from an AD in a month’s time? “We don’t want to make it seem like a part-time job” for the client, she says. “We want to make sure they know what opportunities they have, we want them to know we really treasure the relationship, but on the other hand, we don’t want to be a pain in their butts.”
In that spirit, Coziahr practices what she preaches; she takes small steps to make her relationships with clients that much better, like supporting her neighborhoods by buying Girl Scout cookies from their residents and then delivering those cookies to her clients over the next month.
“Just letting them know that you’re thinking about them on a personal level,” she says, “makes a big difference.”
That kind of thoughtfulness also leads to consistency — a key for staying connected to clients — and that consistency establishes integrity.
For example, Coziahr recently visited one of her AD’s clients, an Omaha car dealership, on one of those random Tuesdays. She discovered that the business had a brand new general manager, one who didn’t know about N2 at all. That could have meant trouble. But Coziahr had the chance to meet and talk with him, to begin to build that relationship anew.
“For me,” she explains, “happening by and putting a face with a name was so much more powerful than him looking through his expenses next month and wondering, ‘What’s this N2 Publishing? I don’t know anything about them.’” That visit allowed her to learn about changes to their business right away, up close and personal, and it meant she could keep that connection alive and growing.
What all of this boils down to, for Coziahr, is being proactive and acting with integrity. And that means better business practices and much healthier relationships.
She explains, “If we can keep the relationship positive at the beginning, it’s so much easier to maintain than trying to save it down the road. And if you’re being proactive and reaching out to them,” that relationship is going to last long into the future.
In the end, clients stick with Coziahr for the same reasons she sticks with N2: that same thoughtfulness, consistency, and integrity.
“They’re just great people,” she says. “They always have good intentions, and they will make it right if something is wrong or unfair with a client or an AD. Whatever the situation is, they’ll do their best to make it right.”
Coziahr reflects exactly that attitude with her clients, and it’s safe to say that N2 knows just how lucky they are to have her — and her multi-tasking, insightful, accept-all-challenges brain — on board.
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