Revenue forecasting in the agency world is tough enough without the news from a recent survey on Client and Agency Relationships reported by Advertising Age indicating that agencies of record are “often the last to know when its client is straying or wants a divorce.” The survey revealed that, upon the decision to pull the plug, “61% of clients fail to notify them before hiring other agencies or terminating them.” The survey was conducted by Joanne Davis Consulting and Scan International.
I wonder how many clients within the 61% would consider their move a total surprise for the agency? My guess is that a certain portion would claim the writing was on the wall for a while so the news should really come as no shock. That being said, picking up the phone to let someone know what is going on is common courtesy. I’ve seen people take longer to order a drink at Starbucks than it would take to properly inform folks of an impending departure, so clients could be a more classy in that regard if the findings of the report are true. Perhaps the rationale is simply that clients are looking to avoid the awkward suck-up call where the phrase “we can fix this” is used at least a half-dozen times.
What it really boils down to is the same old story in terms of the need for better proactive communication across the board. A recommendation from the article points to a monthly report card to keep the relationship on track and maintain a positive trajectory. Not a bad idea to check the pulse every now and again before the patient slips into a coma.