A survey of more than 2,000 UK-based clients of PR agencies by Question & Retain (Q&R) this month found 39 per cent were "really satisfied" with the service they received. That figure was 50 per cent in a similar survey untaken in March 2014.
The proportion of in-house clients that were "quite satisfied" grew from 40 per cent to 50 per cent; those who were "dissatisfied" remained unchanged at three per cent.
PR agencies were also judged to be less creative than before.
Last year 33 per cent of clients viewed their agencies as "excellent across the board" when it came to creativity. That figure fell to 24 per cent in the latest poll.
Sixty per cent judged agencies to be "good" for creativity, with some things open to improvement. Last year the figure was 54 per cent. As with last year, just two per cent rated their PR firms as "poor" creatively.
"One client just wanted to see ‘something creative’ come back from its monthly retainer and was ‘quite appalled’ that it hadn’t," said Q&R. "Clearly, a red flag."
PR agencies were also rated less highly for their strategic counsel, with 34 per cent of respondents rating them as "really good" in this category, down from 37 per cent last year. Two per cent were judged to be "poor" in their strategic counsel; none were rated this way last year.
Meanwhile, the proportion of clients who said they were very or quite likely to recommend the agency dipped slightly, from 91 per cent to 88 per cent.