This post doesn’t exactly fall under the storytelling umbrella.
I figure a rogue post every now and then keep things interesting.
Which serves as my segue into the client-agency relationship.
PR agencies disdain the “V” word.
Calling an agency a vendor is akin to a slur against the principal’s mom.
Agencies want that partner mantle.
But I’ve learned through the years that the vendor versus partner debate doesn’t get at the core of the issue.
Instead, it comes down to the client’s day-to-day interactions with the agency.
Does the client treat the agency with dignity (mutual respect)?
Does information flow both ways?
When something goes astray, does the feedback come in a constructive form?
It’s also worth noting that the intangibles make a difference.
In short, does the client make the agency feel valued?
I’m not espousing a philosophy that clients should take on marshmallow behavior.
We like driven clients.
We can handle “tough love.”
We can deal with a bad day (or even a bad week).
Taking this into account, which agency will deliver the better performance? The agency that feels valued or the agency that doesn’t feel the “love”?
Of course, the answer is self-evident because people make up the product.
We conducted an internal survey some time ago to better understand how various elements make up the overall Hoffman Agency experience.
You can see the results below.
Client interactions rated only behind the direct manager in shaping the Agency experience.
One could make an argument that agencies should spend more time helping clients understand how to get the most out of them.
After all, the benefits stand to be both improved work and a more satisfied staff.
Note: We created a SlideShare deck called “How clients get the most out of us” which touches on this issue and others.