4 Ways to Destroy an Agency-Client Relationship
3.2 years. 38 months. 1,140 days. 27,360 hours. The average agency-client relationship doesn’t even make it to kindergarten before calling it quits to find a new play date. We can all agree that sustaining a long-term relationship based on trust is beneficial to both parties—so what’s the root of the issue? And how can we problem solve it?
Getting Your Wires Crossed
Communication breakdown doesn’t just happen over text. While mass communication is an agency’s specialty, clear daily communication is more important than ever, but often the first cause of mistrust with client relationships. Pick up the phone, schedule more in-person meetings, and make sure time is taken to set realistic expectations, build friendships, and create an open relationship where candid thought and idea can flourish on both sides.
Showing up on time, accurate budget tracking, and error-free grammar are all prime examples of simple details that add up when it comes to building a relationship of trust with the client. Skimping on the little things easily leads to frustrations and quickly deteriorates a strong foundation. When you make the details a priority, you show the client just how valuable they are to you—and in turn, makes you important to them.
Clients and agencies both have business factors that strike fear to the heart. For clients, it could be internal data on an unsuccessful product or process. For agencies, it could be a change in a beloved employee with a strong client relationship or unexpected project cost. The key to not letting these cause rifts in the relationship is transparency on both sides. Obstacles tend to fester if brushed under the rug, so open up and make sure both parties are aware of the situation. The best creative and best relationships are born when everyone knows all the details—not just the pretty ones.
Too often, agencies push “risky” creative, simply for the sake of it, not because it’s strategically sound. As an agency, it’s vital to understand the ins and outs of your client’s business—what their pain points are, industry standards, and how they make money. Armed with this knowledge, agencies can help guide clients to new and bold creative directions that will actually help them move into unclaimed space, without putting them at unnecessary risk. Because all clients want to grow—they just want to feel secure along the way.
But don’t despair! Best friends don’t happen in a day, that’s why slumber parties were invented. Time and effort will yield the most fruitful agency-client partnerships, and that’s when working in the advertising industry really gets fun.