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The Art of Client Service by Ian Schafer, Robert Solomon

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Chapter 51Five Client Challenges to Agencies

Ask a hundred agency people what's wrong with their shops and you get a hundred different answers.

I'm not a researcher, and what I am about to share is not what you'd technically call research. But over the last several years, I've visited a wide range of firms to talk about the challenges they face in dealing with clients and colleagues. And as much as you might expect the answers to vary widely, the reality is, they are remarkably consistent, revolving around five issues:

  1. Marketing and advertising agency account people—those charged with overseeing work on behalf of clients—are surprisingly unclear on their roles.
  2. A failure to communicate—internally and with clients—is an ongoing concern.
  3. There's a need to do a better job of managing client expectations.
  4. It's a struggle to get budgets, schedules, and scopes of work consistently right.
  5. Clients look to account people for ideas, and are frustrated by their absence.

It didn't matter if the agencies were in New York or from elsewhere. It didn't matter if the shops were large or small. It didn't matter if they were specialized or not. And it didn't matter if they are digitally native or not. The problems identified remain startlingly the same. From the verbatims I received during my hour-long telephone interviews, the highlights of which I share next, it seems as if everyone faces the same obstacles, regardless of circumstances.

1. Account People Are Largely Unclear on Their Roles ...

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