The client advocacy that our clients commission helps them to embrace disruption. This is a good thing!
This is because we help our agency clients to improve the way they manage and interact with their key clients. And that can have all sorts of implications for the business, and particularly for client-facing people we support.
Getting to really understand what key clients think about you and your business is potentially opening you up to things you don’t want to acknowledge or hear. It can cause disruption to your business and your employees. That said, as-often-as-not client advocacy also provides positive feedback and is an affirming driver of change.
When we are devising advocacy programmes for our clients, we often get questions from the MD or sponsoring director about what happens if a key client’s feedback is not completely positive? What will be the impact on individuals who look after the account, and what will be the impact on the business as a whole?
These are, of course, valid concerns. Disruption, if not managed, is not necessarily great! However, in our experience:
- Key client feedback is almost entirely constructive in nature and tone, and focused on helping the agency to be better at specific areas of relationship or delivery; it is very, very rarely personal in nature;
- We can mitigate any potential destabilizing impact on individuals within a business with good follow-up, coaching and support; highlighting areas for improvement and giving a structure to help them address their areas of inexperience.
- Key client feedback is empowering, because the key-client is giving you permission to change things for the better – otherwise what’s the point of the feedback?
However, even allowing for all this, key client feedback may cause small pockets of disruption in the short-term. Nonetheless, we know, categorically, that it is better for an agency to understand what a key client thinks about it, its people and its business, even if it is not 100% positive. This is because we can support and help do something about it – if the sentiment is positive, we can help you act to take advantage of it. And we can support and help remedy and fix it, if it’s negative.
Frankly, disruption we can help you manage – dissatisfied key clients that stop working with you, we cannot!