Client relations: Mind your professional bedside manner

Once the communicative ball between agency and client is dropped, a parting of the ways might be inevitable—but who’s to blame?

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

You are trying to explain the diagnosis and prognosis for their publicity campaign, yet you can see their eyes cloud over. As they ask you the same questions for the second and third time, you know that what’s happening is a serious lapse in communication. Like an illness, if it remains untreated it will just get worse.

This literal misunderstanding can go on to create a wide chasm between agency and client, which can ultimately lead to dismissal or the need for you to resign the account.

Once things head off in this wayward direction, course correction becomes incredibly difficult and you may end up with almost a “sleeping with the enemy” type of animosity. Often when this arises, the immediate tendency is to blame the client for their lack of comprehension—but aren’t we supposed to be the great communicators?

Ultimately, it is up to us as PR professionals to walk the client through the process—adopting an almost beside manner—so there is no miscommunication.

Too often there’s the feeling, “It’s so easy to understand, so why doesn’t the client just get it?”

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.