Clients Pulling The Plug

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Partenerships

Guest Author, Drew McLellan of Agency Management Institute

Each spring, I walk my live network members through the trends that I have been tracking and believe are going to impact the coming year. One of the trends I am going to be talking about this go around is a pretty ugly one. Clients seem to have much shorter fuses when it comes to agencies these days.

Clients are literally picking up the phone (or worse, sending a break-up email) and pulling the plug on the unsuspecting agency with no forewarning, discussions about dissatisfaction, or severance time frame. It’s a “hi, effective immediately or if they really generous — to the end of the month), we’re moving on. Thanks for your service.”

I am seeing it happen to big agencies from big brands (both B2C and B2B) and I am seeing it happen to smaller agencies with local or regional brands. I don’t get a sense that there’s any geographical aspect to this either.

There have always been horrific break-up stories but in the past, when an agency and client went their separate ways, there were some conversations, some expression of discontent and some time period to re-earn the trust of the client.

That seems to be less common these days. So what do we do about this unpleasant trend?

  • Are you (the owner) investing in building a relationship with your client’s CEO/owner/leader?
  • When was the last time you invested in a client satisfaction survey and reacted to the results?
  • Are your AEs helping your clients achieve business goals and tackle business problems every single day? (Do they understand strategy enough to do that?)
  • Are you holding regular (quarterly for large clients, annually for smaller ones) celebrations/planning events with your entire client and agency team?

We can’t just sit back and let this trend kick us in the teeth. We need to be proactive now so we can dodge the impact of this new wave of bad manners and bad break up etiquette.

What else are you doing to make sure you aren’t on the receiving end of this trend?

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