November 23rd 2016, Question and Retain (Q&R), the online Pulse Check™ company, ran a one question pulse asking for PRCA membership views on the challenges to measuring and managing client satisfaction in today’s Consultancy environment.

72% of those pulsed said it came down to not having enough time to deal with clients properly, making sure the team keeps them in the loop or a combination of both.

As one respondent said. “I think there are three factors preventing better, formal measurement of client satisfaction and they are (1) the pressure of day-to-day activity, (2) client teams are often unwilling to share negative feedback and (3) clients often don’t want to give negative feedback to their teams for fear of losing motivation.”

The findings were used to inform a four-way discussion, hosted by the PRCA around what good looks like when it comes to measuring client satisfaction.  The panel of Speakers – Paul Nolan, Chief Client Officer CCgroup, Nicole Clarke, Head of Analyst Relations & Senior PR Manager, Orange Group, Annabel Dunstan, Chief Insight Officer, Q&R and Lord James Bethell, Managing Director Westbourne Communications – shared the following insights:

  • Benchmarking media targets and progress is essential
  • Having a coherent communications strategy/brief in place at the beginning of the relationship is fundamental
  • Success is moving a journalist on from a particular point of view to another more favourable to the client’s agenda
  • The new world of assessing how happy clients are has evolved from lunches, personalised Christmas presents and large, coffee-table sized cuttings books to training clients to be better at their jobs
  • Rotating the account team provides an opportunity to showcase specialist skills
  • Offering a more flexible purchase system gives clients more choice
  • There is a step change in the communications industry as data-driven communications gathers pace and clients become more reliant on algorithms to achieve their ‘digital objectives’
  • Referral remains one of the fastest ways to grow your business
  • Great chemistry is an asset but so too is respect – the era of “People Pleasers’ is coming to an end
  • It’s important to give junior members of the account team the confidence to feed back and to have confidence in the process of managing client feedback (good and bad)
  • Trust is a must when feeding back to the client especially when a communications strategy isn’t working
  • When it comes to getting under the skin of the client’s business, having sound and credible research lends much credibility to the strategy proposed
  • The culture and DNA of the Agency should not be overlooked – working with the right clients who respect your business is a key consideration
  • When negotiating an account team change, elegance is required so the client is handled sensitively
  • Agencies should always strive to stay fresh and one of the best ways to do this to remain loyal to the quarterly review
The ‘Client Satisfaction in a Box’ event, managed by the PRCA in partnership with Question and Retain, will run again in 2017, date TBC.