Editorial: Up close and yet still impersonal

For all the talk about the increasingly strategic role of the PR industry, the impact of the profession on policy-making and the importance of planning of campaigns in conjunction with clients, a recent survey has come up with the astounding fact that 95 per cent of agency-initiated reviews are carried out via a common questionnaire format.

For all the talk about the increasingly strategic role of the PR

industry, the impact of the profession on policy-making and the

importance of planning of campaigns in conjunction with clients, a

recent survey has come up with the astounding fact that 95 per cent of

agency-initiated reviews are carried out via a common questionnaire

format.



If the findings of the Client Retention Report by Relationship Audits

and Management are anything to go by, it is a wonder that the yearly

churn rate of clients for UK PR agencies isn’t higher than the 20 to 25

per cent quoted. In an industry which claims to rely upon its close

relationship with clients and its ability to get under the skin of a

client’s business, the act of reviewing a client’s needs with a

questionnaire can only be seen as professional suicide. What makes it

even worse is that most clients questioned actually received the same

questionnaire year in and year out, suggesting that their business is a

static one which does not need to evolve.



No wonder then that 76 per cent of clients say their complaints ’fall on

deaf ears’. Looking at RAM’s report, this is probably because agencies

are too busy chasing new business. When PR Week urged PR practitioners

to measure every area of activity, including client satisfaction, as

part of the Proof Campaign, this slavery to the questionnaire was not

what was envisaged.



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