Letter - Overservicing should not make you proud

My heart lifted when I started to read Ian Monk's column ('Agencies pay the price for low esteem,' 10 November). Here was someone else spreading the word that insecurity was at the centre of PR consultancies' inability to generate the profits they deserve.

In the 30 months since leaving Porter Novelli I have done little else, having devoted myself to improving the commercial capability and confidence of the UK PR sector.

But as I reached the end of his column, my spirits sank. Once again, there was the get-out clause - that over-servicing, overcaring and over-delivering were what made really good PR advisers.

Achieving a proper hourly rate is essential to improving profitability and self-worth. But overservicing is a far bigger problem - the industry's biggest profit eater, voracious and prevalent throughout the sector.

I doubt anyone would argue against high-quality service, care and delivery, but Ian's logic just doesn't stand up. Overservicing is simply discounted rates by another name. And clients don't value the extra free hours, they come to expect them - and we all know how hard to address the problem then becomes.

Neil Backwith, consultancy management adviser

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