Customer Service Is Client Service

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” -John Wanamaker

Ad agencies are not being all they can be, according to a new report.

Of course, agency consultants conduct studies of client satisfaction in order to gauge sentiment, but also as a way to drum up business for themselves. For instance, Avidan Strategies recently polled 1,900 business leaders in an online survey.

Dan and company conclude:

Corporate America is questioning the return on their advertising investment, and agencies continue to struggle to prove their value. There is an impatience for efficiency and effectiveness, and there are higher expectations of accountability. Agencies need to reevaluate their value proposition, and evolve their economic business model in ways that will strengthen the partnership with clients.

There’s a lot of talk today about reinventing agency models, and that’s fine. I like innovation. But our core work — the creation of brand-sponsored ideas and platforms for customer empowerment — remains the same.

The central problem of the day, from a MarCom perspective, is a decided lack of game-changing ideas (same as it ever was). All the reach in the world means nothing, when there’s no “there” there.

To make sure there is a compelling “there” there — every time — flip this prevailing concept on its head: Regardless of your position in the agency, stop seeing your job as client service and start seeing it as customer advocacy. This may seem obvious enough, but the reality is when we focus on what the client “wants to say,” we sometimes forget about what the prospect or customer “wants to hear.”

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