Five Steps to Manage Client-Agency Relationships

By Brianne Murphy Miller

Note: This is a reposted blog by Public Relations Global Network. For the original blog, please visit here.

All relationships take effort, and that includes the one between client and communications agency. Considering that “communication” is the function, these relationships deserve a bit more time and effort! Setting things up correctly at the start is key. If both client and agency understand relationships, responsibilities and expectations, it’s usually smooth sailing. Here are five tips for creating a partnership that yields results with minimum drama.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Know your plan

I’m not talking about the ponderous strategic plans of old that became unwieldy 50-slide powerpoints. I’m talking about a two-pager (google sheet, tracker, project management software, whatever) that itemizes activities in weeks, months, quarters. The goal is that no one from agency or client side ever has to wonder, “what’s going on this week/month/quarter.” This is a living document, so don’t forget to update prodigiously. 

Talk often

Here at Landis, we have weekly client meetings (zoom, phone) that last all of 30 minutes on a busy week. Attendance is mandatory and it’s the week’s opportunity to get clarification, adjust a plan in coordination with the client, brainstorm ideas, or itemize “gentle reminders” on due dates. It’s also a time to get to know each other! Most meetings open with chatter about news items, weekend activities, or impending vacations.

Don’t email to death

I hate instant messaging (there I said it – sorry Slack and Teams and whatever) but the functionality is priceless. Don’t email asking for the date for the next board meeting. Use the technology we all have access to. Nothing strains a relationship more than being a bother.

Set expectations and reiterate them

At the beginning of a project, clearly outline what the expected outcomes might be and how it will support the client business. Do not leave this vital information unsaid.

Ask, “how are we doing?”

Ask clients regularly how they think the team is performing and how you might improve. Don’t wait until something goes haywire.

Have a tip to add to my list? Email [email protected]