The Benefits of Praising Your Ad Agency

How Pressing Positive Buttons Enhances the Relationship and the Work

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My Blackberry buzzed as I was sitting through a meeting the other day. The message was from one of our largest clients, and marked 'urgent.'

So I had the normal reaction of a small agency owner: uh oh!
Marc Brownstein Marc Brownstein

To my surprise, the client took the time to craft a note of praise, highlighting some of the work our agency has done on her business and noting one of our team members in particular. ( The e-mail was sent to me, and cc'd to several of my team members.) Whew! I took a deep breath, the stress in my shoulders and neck eased, relieved that it wasn't a negative note. And that got me to thinking how wonderfully refreshing, and uplifting, it is to receive such generous comments from our clients. Within minutes, there was an email string -- both internal and external -- with thanks yous, and verbal fist pumps, and overall good vibes throughout. How starved we are for praise in our agency business, and how sad it is how little we receive it.

I wish more clients would send notes like that one. We all strive to do great work, but often we're unsure of how our client really really feels. If there's a problem, clients are quick to let us know about that (and well they should). But fewer clients are as generous in their praise as in their criticism. So to you clients out there, consider the benefits of heaping kind words on your agency:

  • Clients will likely get even more out of the agency, as the agency would kill for great clients.
  • Like children with their parents, human nature dictates that we seek affirmation and recognition of our hard work. No difference in an agency-client relationship.
  • What a motivator! There's hardly a better way to keep your agency team executing at high levels.
  • You'll have others in the agency jockeying to get on your business.
  • ROI will go up. Better morale leads to better thinking, more proactive ideas, which leads to better returns.
  • And for those clients who want to be liked, your agency team won't trash you in the halls.
Unsolicited feedback like I received that day feels the best. However, there is another way to know what your clients are thinking. Good or bad. (And trust me -- you want to know either way!) Occasionally, we send out a formal questionnaire to clients, asking for their feedback. We like to know how we're doing. And while we've had mixed results with getting clients to take the time to respond, what we do receive can be very valuable. Soon, we plan to start a confidential online survey, so more clients feel comfortable being able to open up with their comments. And, hopefully, compliments.
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