PR agencies should invest significantly more in client retention
and pay greater attention to the way they evaluate their own services,
according to a report published this week.
Relationship Audits and Management, which audits client-servicing
companies, carried out over 2,000 client audits. The results should act
as a warning to PR bosses.
The survey found that the majority of appraisals initiated by agencies
involve sending the ’same questionnaire to each client once a year’.
This, despite the fact that 75 per cent of clients who change agencies
cite ’poor service’.
The report says that although large agencies spend up to five per cent
of their income on new business development, less than one per cent of
agencies even have a specific client retention budget, beyond standard
travel and entertainment allocations.
’Agencies invest inordinate amounts in chasing the ’new’ when it is
significantly more profitable to build on the existing,’ wrote authors
Carey Evans and Simon Rhind-Tutt.
More than 90 per cent of clients surveyed said that ’ongoing
relationship monitoring or tracking was negligible despite being
desirable’. Many clients (66 per cent) believe that agencies incentivise
new business wins but just 17 per cent of clients feel the account team
is then rewarded for good management.