How to build a strong agency-client relationship
by Judith Abani May 16, 2018
The world is growing smaller by the minute, thanks to technology. As many people are becoming tech-savvy, digital marketing is also on a steady rise.
Yet, building and maintaining a strong relationship with a digital marketing agency is becoming difficult for business owners.
People = Business. If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business!
These days business agreements or deals happen over the phone or the internet. How can you as a business owner connect on a personal level with the agencies you partner with? Relationships permeate every aspect of our lives; from personal to professional.
The digital world is no different. In a world that thrives on building brands and customer satisfaction, building a close agency-client relationship is core.
Want to know more? Read on. In this blog, I’ll share with you how to build a strong relationship with your agency.
The need for building a healthy client-agency relationship
Well, clients are getting more frustrated by the minute. Some feel all that these agencies seek to do is sell their offerings and not listen to them. A greater percentage of clients feel their agencies are not people-focused. This affects effective collaboration.
This frustration, yet, is not one-sided, as agencies have their fair share of grievances as well. For example, in an era where there are several agencies to choose from, the competition has become tougher leading many agencies in the game to feel they are not valued.
This in a way affects their customer delivery. Especially as the customer has become vocal and eager to receive immediate service. There is also a general decline in the level of trust and respect, due to increasing demand for stricter security, data protection etc.
Quite a bleak picture, isn’t it? But like we always believe, with our glass-half-full approach, all is definitely not lost!
Before we go a step further, why is it important to have a robust client-agency relationship?
With the number of agencies out there, what makes a client choose one over the other? Loyalty comes about when there is a healthy client-agency relationship, in cases where the client comes first.
Loyalty breeds positive word-of-mouth marketing. When a client takes delight in your service, he/she will tell others about you. Remember, a happy client is a loyal customer.
- Coordinated effort
When there’s a strong client-agency relationship, both parties are often on the same page. It takes a shorter time to arrive at decisions, and the agency knows what the client wants.
Even in times of disagreements, a good client-agency relationship makes it easy to address issues on time, and of course, in a friendly way. This makes it a win-win situation for everyone.
A happy customer means a happy agency and even in the long run, revenue. Although excellent service should be every agency’s priority, making a profit is a plus as well. And this profitability is not one-sided either!
Not only does the agency benefit from their happy clients with regards to money. Clients, when their agencies deliver on their promises, are also able to deliver on the service promise of their business. It’s more like a chain reaction.
Agency delivers → Client is happy→ Client also delivers to its target audience→ everyone profits!
Why do client-agent relationships still fail?
- Lack of consistency
Some agencies are so bent on gaining clients, but after getting these clients on board they do not apply the same urgency to service delivery. As a result, clients do not get the attention they need, which may lead them to become disgruntled in the long run.
- Lapses in communication
Lines of communication between agencies and clients are sometimes not clear-cut. When this continues over time, the relationship breaks down. Agencies end up not knowing what their clients need, and clients tend to view their agencies as far-off and not relatable. A lapse in communication also increases the time spent on addressing issues.
- Failure to set expectations
When expectations are not clearly outlined from the beginning, it disrupts the process and weakens the relationship between the agency and the client.
What’s the best way to build a strong client-agency relationship?
The client-agent relationship is more than a business transaction. How well it’s managed can either break or make your business. If managed poorly, it can break your business and ruin the agency’s reputation. On the other hand, if managed properly, it can bud into a fulfilling and successful business relationship.
In order to build a strong agent-client relationship, you first have to keep in mind that it’s a two-way effort. Both the agency and the client have to be on the same page for things to work out well.
For every relationship to thrive there has to be clear and effective communication (that’s a bonus tip for your day-to-day relationships as well!) Miscommunication is often the major cause of poor agent-client relationship.
To avoid any miscommunication, it’s important for agencies and clients to be on the same page from the onset. Especially with regards to goals, objectives and expectations.
This will enable clients to express their grievances whenever they have any, and also enable the agencies to respond on time.
When communicating, agencies must treat their clients with integrity and respect, and vice versa. To make things easier, digital agencies can consider delegating the role of communication to a specific person. All lines of communication must be open, honest and transparent.
Not setting the right expectations right from the start is a recipe for disaster later on in the relationship Click To Tweet
Clients never like to be on the blind side of their agencies. They always want to know what is going on at every moment. Likewise, agencies also like to know the current trends on their clients, to further enhance service delivery.
This is where the importance of accurate measuring and reporting comes in.
It’s important for agencies and clients to check progress on a regular basis. This would help both parties develop timely reports on progress made and plan for the future.
Regular reporting also helps the client and agency to ensure they are on the same page and are achieving set goals.
This falls mostly on the part of clients. With more people becoming inclined towards digital marketing, digital marketing agencies sometimes get overwhelmed with client demands.
It could take a couple of months to figure out what’s working and what’s not. Clients thus, need to put themselves in the shoes of their agencies and be patient, despite the desire for immediate results. Having such patience also builds the image of the client in the eyes of the agency. This will, in turn, spur the agency on to do the best they can for the client.
4) Clearly Outline Expectations
Clearly outlining expectations at the beginning is important. As an agency, are you clear on what your client needs? As the client, are you fully on board with the agency’s demands? Failure to set and meet expectations breeds distrust.
Not setting the right expectations right from the start is a recipe for disaster later on in the relationship. Define your goals clearly. Let your agency know what you want to achieve with social media. The agency, on the other hand, should outline their goals from the onset.
That’s quite a lot to take in, right?
Okay, let’s sum it up a bit. Simply put, agencies and clients need to treat each other as partners, to work towards a common goal. After all, happy clients mean happy agencies and vice versa!
What do you look out for in a client-agent relationship? Let us know in the comment section below.
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