And the four keys to effective client management.
As the Bospar chief content officer and also a former Bospar client, I think I am uniquely qualified to offer advice to those on both “sides of the desk.”
I have always felt that it maximizes a public relations practitioner’s professional development to have both agency-side and client-side experience.
This is true regardless of where you ultimately end up. You will be a better client if you understand how agencies work and a better client counselor if you understand clients’ unique pain points.
These lists could be much longer, but let’s start with my four top tips for maximizing public relations ROI and ensuring that as a client you get what you pay for and as an agency staffer you keep clients happy.
ADVICE TO AGENCIES
- Be responsive and communicative. Your clients should always know what you’re working on. And when a client asks a question, answer it—ideally within 15 minutes.
- Never surprise your clients with an invoice they aren’t expecting.
- Minimize account team turnover, and never expect a client to onboard new agency team members.
- The people who pitch a new account (especially senior staffers) should remain involved; to do otherwise is just plain old “bait and switch.”
ADVICE TO CLIENTS
- Equip your agency team members for success by providing access to execs and all the information they request.
- Set reasonable goals and agree on what success looks like. Don’t ask your agency to make your CEO the next Benioff or Bezos, for example.
- Pay your agency fairly…and on time.
- Set high expectations and insist on quality and results. If you do numbers 1-3 on this list, you’ll get them.
In addition to these four tips, however, there is one overarching and primary requirement for effective agency management. The best results are only possible when true partnerships are formed between a client and the agency. If you are disappointed with the results your agency is producing, take some responsibility for the situation and don’t just blame the agency. Great agency results are often a reflection of the client’s ability to make success possible.