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Agency Leadership

Client complaint = agency opportunity: a four-step process

By January 27, 2013 No Comments


Regardless of how efficient or organised they are, one of the key challenges faced by Client Services Directors is client complaints coming out of the blue.

And when a client ‘goes over the head’ of their Account Manager to complain directly to the Client Services Director, you know the relationship is already on shaky ground.

But why can these complaints become the agency’s biggest opportunity?

Well firstly the fact the client is talking to you about the problem gives you the opportunity to resolve it.

Secondly, if this complaint stems from a problem affecting this client what’s to stop this being an issue for another? Therefore, resolving it and addressing the root cause can only benefit the agency in the end.

Thirdly, it’s giving you an opportunity to ‘shine’ i.e. show the client how efficiently and thoroughly you can address their concerns and ensure the relationship doesn’t suffer any further problems.

A client complaint becomes an agency opportunity when you learn from the complaint. Here’s a four step process to follow to turn your complaint into an opportunity:

Step 1: Identify the problem

Identify the root cause of the problem that lead to the complaint (and no, this isn’t about blaming anyone, you just need to identify what happened and why so that you can prevent it happening again)

Step 2: Tell them how you’ll fix it

Explain to the client what you will do immediately to address the problem and how you’ll change your process/tool/system/management so that it never happens again

Step 3: Implement the change & follow up

Implement the changes and follow up with the client to ensure they are satisfied with how things are progressing

Step 4: Ongoing monitoring

Always schedule regular ‘checking in’ calls or even better face to face meetings to ask the client how they think the agency is doing, what their objectives are for the near future and how the agency can help.

When was the last time you held an client/agency review? What did you learn that you didn’t know before and how has that helped the agency?