A two-way street: what makes a good client/agency relationship? - The Telemarketing Company - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
An agency’s top priority should be to help their clients achieve their goals. By necessity then, the client-agency relationship should be one of mutual respect that feeds collaborative and creative work from both parties, whilst remaining productive and cost-effective for the client. However, this can be easier said than done, and difficulties do often arise. Over the years, we’ve worked with hundreds of clients, helping them to see real results with their telemarketing efforts, and we’ve developed the formula for a successful client-agency relationship.
A great brief means a relationship based on trust
Like all good things, a successful client-agency relationship starts at the very beginning. A well-developed brief means the agency knows exactly what they need to do, what results to aim for and what success looks like. The agency then has a responsibility to ask all the questions they need to in order to ensure they have interpreted the brief correctly. Having an open and informative discussion at the beginning of a project means that the client can go away safe in the knowledge that the agency knows what they’re doing; in other words, trust is formed and communication links established. With a plan of action based on the initial brief, the agency has a solid foundation on which to build the programme, and a clear understanding of what they need to deliver in order to create value for their client.
Collaboration is key
It’s imperative that the relationship remains collaborative, even if the agency is set to take on most of the day-to-day activity; a great brief will lay the foundations for this, while regular communication and the establishment of information sharing processes will enable it to be long-lasting. Clients and agencies alike need to make sure they’re working to a common goal and share all the necessary data, materials and results with everyone involved, on both sides of the table. In the early stages of any engagement, where assumptions around the brief and preferred approach are tested, collaboration is critical. In the case of telemarketing, a pilot period and a solid feedback loop supported by regular reviews, live listening and call recordings ensures early refinements optimise the overall approach and ongoing campaign performance.
There is a staggering discrepancy between the freedom to speak that clients and agencies feel they have; 88% of clients believe they always speak their minds freely, while only 36% of agencies say the same. For the relationship to be truly fruitful, everyone should feel listened to and encouraged to speak their mind; this will lead to maximum collaboration and creativity. Clients should be open-minded when talking to agencies about new ideas and strategies; after all, good agencies will be experts in their field, with experience based on hundreds of previous campaigns. Agencies should be equally open-minded when it comes to ideas, as the client knows their product and proposition best, and is usually the expert when it comes to what works in their industry.
Proactivity and reliability
Marketing is an ever-changing environment and both clients and agencies need to be on the ball to make sure nothing slips through the net. One of the main reasons for engaging an agency, however, is for them to carry the overhead of managing your campaign. An agency must provide pro-active account management, identifying when they feel the campaign is off track, opportunities and areas of untapped potential, or new approaches that you might not have tried before. Unless the agency is working on your behalf to continuously improve your programme and the results you receive, they are not doing their job.
When all is said and done, the agency is going to be judged on the results they deliver. When success is discussed at the beginning, robust KPIs should be put in place so that both the client and the agency understand what constitutes a positive outcome. Agencies should be proactive in monitoring results throughout the project, rather than waiting until the end to determine what has or hasn’t worked. Clients also need to be clear, and realistic, about the results they can expect, guided by the agency’s previous experience of similar work carried out. Taking time at the end of the project for a full review of what has gone well and what can be improved will mean that the next project starts out with an even stronger foundation for success.
Since 1990, we’ve worked with hundreds of organisations supporting on-going engagements, or shorter-term projects delivering sales growth for our clients and ensuring they get full value from the telemarketing channel. We’ve developed the formula for a great client-agency relationship built around an open, collaborative and proactive approach that drives continuous improvement. Our flexible and quality-driven processes ensure we truly deliver above and beyond what our clients require. If you’re looking for an agency you can count on, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.
Publish Date: September 19, 2017 5:00 AM
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