3 great lessons from a bad client

The failings of a prior professional relationship gave the author a few insights about what it takes to be a good client.

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In all my professional dealings, I make it a point to learn something from all experiences good or bad, some takeaway to ensure that our firm continues to operate at the high standard our clients have come to expect.

In this case it was a simple lesson: Sometimes you just end up with a bad client. Ideally, working relationships between client and agency should be functional, providing a successful experience for everyone involved.

Here are some suggestions for how to structure a productive client/agency relationship:

1. Educate the agency.

At the outset of any client engagement, we always conduct a “brain dump,” an intense session that lasts at least four hours and is specifically designed to bring our agency fully up to speed on everything happening with the client. This includes pending activations, launches, goals, past successes and failures, and includes basics such as preferred reporting structure and fundamental tools.

Education is a certainly a two-way street. The client should be completely forthcoming with information needed for success, and the agency should be ready and able to sift through the information. It also has to ask the right questions.

Make sure to set and keep regular meetings so communication continues.

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