The Fine Line Between Value-adds and Over-servicing Clients

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 [...]