How often have you recommended to a client that they conduct research among their own customers to gauge overall satisfaction and uncover what they value about the relationship to your client’s company or brand? You’re astute enough to know that armed with customer satisfaction data, you can more knowledgeably guide that client in everything from customer acquisition to integration of sales and marketing to customer retention. Now, how often have you thought about the need to understand the satisfaction of your agency’s clients? The fact is agencies tend to avoid client satisfaction surveys for two reasons: We’re either afraid to ask the big questions for fear we might hear something we don’t like, or we assume everything is good because they are still with us. Both ways of thinking can lead to missing an opportunity to fine-tune your relationship with your clients, or more importantly heading off an impending disaster. As an agency owner, you shouldn’t be involved in every detail of what’s happening between your clients and your agency. But, that doesn’t mean you should operate within a vacuum either. If you have an established “one-on-one” meeting process in place between you and your direct reports, and those direct reports have the same established with staff members they manage, then you should have a general awareness of what’s happening with clients. Your responsibility is to ensure that the management of client relationships is carried out in a manner consistent with the agency’s core values and service philosophy. There may be periods of time when that’s not happening, resulting in a slow erosion of confidence between the client and the agency. Simple ways to gauge client satisfaction That’s why it’s smart to periodically engage your [...]
One of the best compliments my agency ever received came from a client who said he never felt like we had our hand in his pocket. We were putting his interests ahead of our own, and that is usually the best way to build trust. Yet, as good as that comment made me feel, it wasn’t enough. Sure, it indicated we were satisfying our client, but if over-serviced clients are satisfied with your work, you may be in trouble. Clients don’t want to be “satisfied” with their marketing agencies. They want to be wowed. And that means they want to be over-serviced. But there’s a danger there, too. Offer too much, and you could be hurting your agency’s future. The Over-servicing Clients Tipping Point You need to over-deliver, but you and your employees should also remember you’re not running a charity. If over-servicing starts to eat through your profitability, you have a problem. It starts with your account executives. One of the most dangerous habits for any AE to develop is to think of themselves as a customer service rep rather than a business growth specialist. When that attitude spreads to the whole agency, you’ll start to see: Unrealistic expectations from your clients. If you always over-service a client, the marginal value of that effort will diminish. The client will become overly demanding and expect you to keep upping the ante, possibly expecting you to deliver work even faster, or at a significantly reduced cost. And those favors could hit your business hard. Low (or no) profitability. An agency client of mine worked with the same large client for years. They never modified their agreement, and after a few years, the agency was working for $40 an hour when most agencies were charging $150 an hour. The team was [...]
Is there such a thing as a loyal client? I think we all know a few. But the truth is, most agencies hang onto a client for 3-5 years and then they're looking around. If we're really honest with ourselves -- some of the blame for that disenchantment sits at our feet. When we're chasing a new piece of business, we are on our first date behavior. We listen intently, respond instantaneously and we go out of way to be smart, witty and a snappy dresser. We wine and dine them, literally and figuratively and no one matters more. But once the deal is done... over time, we get a little sloppy. It doesn't matter if the work you're doing for them is digital, traditional or a blend. We don't wine or dine very often anymore. I know, I know -- you're busy doing the work and they should know that you still love them because you're busting a hump for them. There's more to keeping your clients loyal than just working hard. Agency Post asked me to explore this topic and offer up some advice on how to nurture your accounts so at the end of the day you can earn a great profit and a loyal client. Check out my article How to Stop Your Clients from Shopping Around. I'd love to get your take on this topic.