9 signs a client/agency relationship is on the rocks

Is the client running ideas from other agencies past you? Missing scheduled calls? Starting new social media relationships? Those are sure signs of a wandering eye.

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In many cases, the agency reps have no one to blame but themselves for either not proactively managing the client relationship, for not really listening to the client, or for missing client clues that all is not well—or for all of the above. When you add it all up, it boils down to neglect—taking clients for granted and then acting surprised when a client takes the business elsewhere. Sound a little familiar? If you’re an agency veteran, it should.

Nothing stings more than losing a client for reasons of poor agency performance, along with the realization—once the dust has settled and your firm or account team has gone through the five stages of grief—that the client is right. Proactively managing and measuring the expectations and value of the agency/client relationship should begin on the first day of the relationship and should end only when the relationship does.

Once the telltale signs of a dissolving agency/client relationship have surfaced, it’s difficult—though not impossible—to rebuild the relationship. Having been on the client side, I know firsthand that once a client believes his or her business has been taken for granted, recovery is a long shot.

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