Tuesday, August 16, 2005

What to Do? 

Who was the first person who said that PR would be a great business but for clients? That person surely had experience in client service. There is nothing worse in PR than trying to serve clients who will not be served. By that I mean, a client does not and will not provide you with what you need to make the client successful. There are many reasons for this happening, none of them good. It makes no sense to hire and pay an agency only to let it fail. Yet, clients do this regularly because they don't know how to manage agencies. Agencies need information to work. They need responsiveness. They need to be told when a client has made changes or events have overtaken messages. Often, none of these things happen, and the client becomes furious because the agency is not doing the job. As my boss says, a client is never at fault, no matter how badly the client has abused the agency.

There is a time for an agency to get tough with recalcitrant clients and to explain to them that the client and agency will fail unless something is done. This needs to be said clearly and if need be, bluntly. But, it should not turn into a blame game. The agency should state what it needs and ask that it be delivered as soon as possible, so it can work. This can be done without embarrassing the client contact either, unless the person is the source of the blockage. Often, it is not the agency contact who is the problem but persons above the contact who have no interest in the program are or trying to kill it. One has to go around them to higher authority and get the job done. This isn't always easy to do.

No one gets paid long for standing around, even if the boss is the one who can't make up his mind.    

Amen, and amen.
Right on.
How right.
One of the biggest time wasters is aprovals. The agency delivers draft press releases on time and then has to spend hours to get aproval from client, lawyers and uncle Tom Cobley. There should be double time charge for such apros.

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