We Need to Talk How Digital Agencies Can Have Better Relationships with Clients - Xivic Agency Insights
Xivic Company Logo Mobile Menu Icon
Blog

"We Need to Talk" How Digital Agencies
Can Have Better Relationships with Clients

Bahman Zakeri

CEO & Chief Strategist

06/13/2017

Share:

The rise of digital and mobile has fundamentally changed agency's relationships with their clients.

Now, everything from strategy to execution seems to move faster than ever, but with all of these new demands to keep pace with an exponentially growing medium, sometimes the fundamentals of client/agency relationships can get lost. At Xivic, Inc., we strive to always focus on why we're choosing to be in the client relationships we have, and how to continually improve them. This often means being able to have "The Talk" about any possible pain points with your clients. It's not always easy, but with some open, honest communication, you can better solidify your client/agency partnership. Here are five of our tips on what digital agencies need to address with their clients in order to have a healthy relationship.

Pain Point 1: So, Are We Exclusive?

Maybe you were lucky enough that the client was upfront in their intentions, or maybe you know they're playing the field, but they've made it clear they will settle down… for the right agency. Whatever the situation is, you need to get clarity, preferably in advance of any work being done. Digital agencies face a unique challenge in that they often don't have a legacy relationship with a client and many brands are still considering their digital needs late in the game, choosing to bring in specialized agencies as ad hoc resources. So, if there are other parties involved, make sure your client is introducing you and setting clear expectations, communication of objectives, assignments and responsibilities. This is no small job, but if done correctly, collaboration and knowledge sharing across the board will enable every agency to deliver the best quality performance possible.

Pain Point 2: Communication Is Key

The only thing worse than having to tell your client at the last minute that you won't be able to deliver on time is delivering on time and having them declare that you've completely missed the mark. Both of these nightmare scenarios could be avoided with plenty of communication and clearly defined deliverables early on. Sometimes, though, the challenge is on their end -- clients who regularly miss or reschedule check-ins or who don't provide clear feedback. In that case, regularly reminding the client in writing that missing feedback deadlines and missed guidance resulting in delayed result and cause poor quality is the first step in avoiding long-term relationship deterioration. The flip side of this is managing your accessibility with clients. Certainly, as a digital agency, you need to be available to answer questions or address any issues with products, but we can't return answers as fast as a Google search. By making it clear from the beginning of a relationship who is the point person to contact and what realistic response times are, you can save yourself -- and your client -- from panicked phone calls when they don't hear back immediately.

Pain Point 3: Do You Trust Me?

This can be one of the trickiest parts of any working relationship as trust and respect take much longer to build than to lose. Those who trust and respect our role and expertise empower us to do our jobs well -- and to make the most of what we're doing for our clients. Those who don't... well... we end up in messy situations and unhappy clients. One of the best ways to build trust is to give clients a reality check when what they're asking for either isn't feasible or isn't right for their brand. When it comes to digital properties, you're working with people who have different levels of knowledge and awareness. Instead of just taking their money and building another app, give them honest and direct advice on what will really work for their brand. Maybe it's a far less sexy option than they'd envisioned. Maybe it will cost you the job or money, but in the long run, it will earn you trust.

Pain Point 4: I Need to Tell You Something

No matter how amazing your agency and your staff are, at some point, you are going to screw up. It might not be entirely your fault, but once something has gone wrong, it's not the time to point fingers or place blame. The first thing to do is to own up to it and contact the client, directly and immediately. Nothing is going to kill that trust you've worked so hard to build faster than them realizing your mistake or hearing about it from someone else before you've said a word. When you do reach out to them, either have a solution in place, or, if you don't have one yet, give them a firm timeframe on when you will and stick to it. No matter the circumstances, your client deserves to know the details. By maintaining the transparency in your relationship, you are assuring them that you're looking out for their best interests first.

Pain Point 5: Are We Right For Each Other?

Sometimes, it's hard to walk away from what looks like the right partnership on paper, but if it just isn't the right fit for either of you, it's better to break it off now, rather than invest your company's creative resources into something that was never going to last. If your communication keeps failing, no matter how hard you try, they don't seem to trust you or are vague when you try to talk about future projects, it's not working. Another good sign that it's not the right fit? If the only selling point on the client is the pay. Sure, we've all had to take projects in order to pay the bills, but if the relationship is purely transactional, it's not meant for the long term. After all, when relationships clearly don't work, it's best to end it for both parties.

Of course, there are challenges specific to working in any booming sector of the creative industry, but, just like in any relationship, the only way to overcome them and form a strong, lasting bond is to be honest, open and grateful for the wonderful connection you have. And, a little TLC never hurts either.

Our Insights

We're weighing in on the latest and greatest industry news.
HTTP to HTTPS: The Pros and Cons & SSL Migration Checklist

Xivic Blog

HTTP to HTTPS: The Pros and Cons & SSL Migration Checklist

Press Icon

HTTP to HTTPS: The Pros and Cons & SSL Migration Checklist

Tips for Working Better with Your Clients

Xivic Blog

Tips for Working Better with Your Clients

Press Icon

Tips for Working Better with Your Clients

Website Content Accessibility Guidelines and What it Means to Your Business

Xivic Blog

Website Content Accessibility Guidelines and What it Means to Your Business

Press Icon

Website Content Accessibility Guidelines and What it Means to Your Business

The Best Mobile Apps for Your Business

Xivic Blog

The Best Mobile Apps for Your Business

Press Icon

The Best Mobile Apps for Your Business

SEO Trends in 2017

Xivic Blog

SEO Trends in 2017

Press Icon

SEO Trends in 2017

Take Care of Your Team - Keep Them Happy and Healthy

Xivic Blog

Take Care of Your Team - Keep Them Happy and Healthy

Press Icon

Take Care of Your Team - Keep Them Happy and Healthy

Ways to Keep Communication Alive with a Mobile Workforce

Xivic Blog

Ways to Keep Communication Alive with a Mobile Workforce

Press Icon

Ways to Keep Communication Alive with a Mobile Workforce

Xivic Blog

"We Need to Talk" How Digital Agencies Can Have Better Relationships with Clients

Press Icon

"We Need to Talk" How Digital Agencies Can Have Better Relationships with Clients

Mobile Marketing Trends in 2017

Xivic Blog

Mobile Marketing Trends in 2017

Press Icon

Mobile Marketing Trends in 2017

4 E-Mail Marketing Tips for Business Leaders

Xivic Blog

4 E-Mail Marketing Tips for Business Leaders

Press Icon

4 E-Mail Marketing Tips for Business Leaders

Upgrade Legacy Systems for Your Existing Clients

Xivic Blog

Upgrade Legacy Systems for Your Existing Clients

Press Icon

Upgrade Legacy Systems for Your Existing Clients

Why Accelerated Mobile Pages are Important

Xivic Blog

Why Accelerated Mobile Pages are Important

Press Icon

Why Accelerated Mobile Pages are Important

Start Small and Go Big: 5 Simple Tips for Growing Your Online Presence

Press

Start Small and Go Big: 5 Simple Tips for Growing Your Online Presence

Press Icon

Start Small and Go Big: 5 Simple Tips for Growing Your Online Presence

Traditional Ad Agencies Need to Evolve

Xivic Blog

Traditional Ad Agencies Need to Evolve

Press Icon

Traditional Ad Agencies Need to Evolve

Many Startups are Borrowing Money these Days - Why?

Xivic Blog

Many Startups are Borrowing Money these Days - Why?

Press Icon

Many Startups are Borrowing Money these Days - Why?

4 Marketing Problems Facing Franchise Owners

Xivic Blog

4 Marketing Problems Facing Franchise Owners

Press Icon

4 Marketing Problems Facing Franchise Owners

Past the Ping Pong Table for Better Dev Team Culture

Press

Past the Ping Pong Table for Better Dev Team Culture

Press Icon

Past the Ping Pong Table for Better Dev Team Culture

Looking Ahead to 2017 - A Mobile-First World

Xivic Blog

Looking Ahead to 2017 - A Mobile-First World

Press Icon

Looking Ahead to 2017 - A Mobile-First World

Does Your Mobile App Idea Have Legs?

Xivic Blog

Does Your Mobile App Idea Have Legs?

Press Icon

Does Your Mobile App Idea Have Legs?

Trying to Raise Money for Your Start-up?

Xivic Blog

Trying to Raise Money for Your Start-up?

Press Icon

Trying to Raise Money for Your Start-up?

The Smart Office: How Connected Tech is Redefining the Workplace

Press

The Smart Office: How Connected Tech is Redefining the Workplace

Press Icon

The Smart Office: How Connected Tech is Redefining the Workplace

Hit the Road, Jack! Inside Apple's iPhone 7 Announcement

Xivic Blog

Hit the Road, Jack! Inside Apple's iPhone 7 Announcement

Press Icon

Hit the Road, Jack! Inside Apple's iPhone 7 Announcement

The Benefits of UX for Startups and VCs

Xivic Blog

The Benefits of UX for Startups and VCs

Press Icon

The Benefits of UX for Startups and VCs

Testing Is King: Our Takeaway from Silicon Beach Fest '16

Xivic Blog

Testing Is King: Our Takeaway from Silicon Beach Fest '16

Press Icon

Testing Is King: Our Takeaway from Silicon Beach Fest '16

Snapchat Wins Olympic Gold

Xivic Blog

Snapchat Wins Olympic Gold

Press Icon

Snapchat Wins Olympic Gold

Is the IoT Inevitable or Overblown?

Press

Is the IoT Inevitable or Overblown?

Press Icon

Is the IoT Inevitable or Overblown?

How the Internet of Things Will Make Your Business Better at Customer Service

Press

How the Internet of Things Will Make Your Business Better at Customer Service

Press Icon

How the Internet of Things Will Make Your Business Better at Customer Service

Join The Conversation

Contact Us

New Business Inquiries
(323) 525-0108
Career Opportunities
jobs@xivic.com
Public Relations
pr@xivic.com

7461 Beverly Blvd Suite #400,

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Bulevardul Primaverii 68

Iasi, Romania