This is a follow-up to an earlier post about what clients value in a professional services relationship. On the flip side, this is about eight things that really frustrate clients.
These are based on my experience on both the agency and client side. Let me also attribute some of these to professional services smart guys and mentors David Maister, David Baker and David Winford (maybe I should change my name).
1. Generalism –– simply put, it's the "we can do anything" firm. They may know how to create a strategy but will it work in the golf business? Sure, it seems basic, but like any industry, golf does have its special knowledge needs."Now where you grip the golf club handle?"
2. Off-target thinking – – inappropriate ideas that don't resonate with media, customers or influencers, and are not strategic, practical or even realistic. "We'll just go to the Masters and stage an event at the club."
3. Order-taking versus consulting – – no one succeeds with a "yes" man. He will follow anyone off the cliff, and usually take your brand with him. You want strong, smart, educated and courageous advisers who will say "no" when it reflects their experience, expertise and success as well as ensures your success and especially avoid failure. "Oh sure we can do that. But if you like, we can do this. I don't think it really matters."
4. Untrustworthy service – – this usually centers on the issue of over-promising and under-delivering. You can't go to your boss and colleagues with nothing, right? "Yes, we will get that revised news release to you in 15 minutes and get it on the front page of the Journal this week."
5. Lack of communication and responsiveness – – you never hear from your agency team, and they never return calls or e-mails on a timely basis. And on top of that, they produce reports you don't need or read. "I was just about to return your call from last week."
6. Bad stewards of the money – – invoices don't make sense and even more annoying is they exceed the budget and really end up indicating low perceived value or ROI. "Well, it seems like that original estimate had some mistakes. And we spent your money."
7. No results and no results-driven culture – – really inexcusable right? And yet, you can hire a leader or team that produces few results and offers many excuses. "We had hoped for success, but things changed on us."
8. Communications that don't connect – – releases, post and blogs that don't motivate even the media or influencers, much less your trade or customers."Well, writing compelling copy is not one of our core capabilities."
Yikes! I hope you haven't experienced these frustrations. If you do or have, what do you do?
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