You know the type. It’s a place where clients come in and go out in a continuous stream. Agencies like this miss out on the most profitable parts of the agency-client relationship. It’s no fluke that across all industries it’s seven times more profitable to keep clients than to win clients.
The reason is simple. Older clients are easier to handle than new clients. The older client usually runs in a pattern that the agency has adjusted to. With a new client, the agency has to work its way up a learning curve that can be both steep and difficult. And that can be expensive in investment required and energy needed.
There’s a better alternative. Work to keep clients longer than the industry averages of 2-3 years. To do that, you need to do three things:
Build a client retention culture.
Make sure your management team knows how to maintain a strong bond with clients.
Upgrade your account team and help them manage the relationship with clients, not try to control clients.
Think Differently About Client Retention
Think about your current agency-client relationships and be sure the agency’s culture, defined as “the way we do things around here,” puts a high priority on retention and not on agency inflexibility. Many agencies operate with a philosophy that clients have problems and agencies have solutions and there the dividing line must be. The shared responsibility concept adopted by many manufacturing and service companies uses self-directed teams that include outside suppliers and vendors on the team. This concept has left agencies cold. The concept of working closely with clients in a joint-team arrangement, even though such a concept can dramatically improve retention, is against some agencies’ nature and culture.
Many problems with agency-client relationships are caused because of the lack of communication between agencies and clients and the poor understanding each have of each others’ worlds. By bringing the agency representatives and client representatives together to form a joint team with final responsibility for the advertising, communications are improved, understanding is increased and long-term retention is enhanced.
You can you implement a client-retention program that will positively impact your agency. How to implement these client-retention practices has been a focus at Sanders Consulting for 20 years. We’re proud of the many agencies that have used our learning programs to keep clients much longer than industry averages. The benefits are many. The agencies are fun to work at. Emergencies aren’t the rule. And clients aren’t using the revolving door.
Photo by blackboxberlin