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How to Improve Agency–Client Relationships to Grow in 2024

When it comes to business, partnerships are everything. But one partnership often gets overlooked—the one between an agency and its clients. 

This relationship is more than just a transaction; it’s a collaboration. Two parties join forces to achieve a common goal, fueled by trust, mutual respect, transparency, and a shared vision.

But this isn’t just about landing a sale or sealing a deal. It’s about building something that lasts—a mutually beneficial relationship that grows and evolves. As customer expectations rise, this becomes more important than ever.

In this article, we’ll dive into the nitty-gritty of agency–client relationships. We’ll discuss the best practices for cultivating a successful relationship, the role of digital marketing in strengthening them, and how to overcome the challenges that inevitably arise. 

We’ll also examine how modern tools can help agencies and clients communicate more effectively, leading to better outcomes for everyone involved. 

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The Facets of Agency–Client Relationships

A good agency–client relationship bridges the gap between client needs and agency capabilities. It thrives on 

1. Building trust in client relationships 

Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship between an agency and its clients. You can earn your client’s trust by communicating clearly, being transparent, and delivering on promises. 

When clients trust their agency, they’re more likely to share valuable information, provide constructive feedback, and embrace new ideas. This helps the agency better understand their client’s needs and create more effective solutions.

2. Ensuring customer satisfaction 

Customer satisfaction is the pulse of an agency–client relationship. It indicates how well an agency is meeting its client’s needs and expectations. Satisfied clients are likelier to remain loyal and recommend the agency to others, leading to increased revenue and a stellar reputation. 

3. Employee retention and reputation 

Happy and engaged employees are more likely to deliver superior work and exceptional service, encouraging higher levels of client satisfaction and loyalty. A positive reputation also attracts new clients and helps retain existing ones, giving the agency a competitive advantage and sustainable growth. 

4. Measuring relationship quality

To gauge the quality of an agency–client relationship, it’s essential to use key performance indicators (KPIs) and net promoter score (NPS). KPIs are specific metrics that measure an agency’s performance in areas such as customer satisfaction, employee retention, and revenue growth. NPS measures the likelihood that a client would recommend the agency to others. 

These insight tools offer visibility into the strength of client relationships and areas for improvement.

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Best Practices to Improve Agency–Client Relationships

If you want to build lasting and fruitful relationships with your clients, you must follow some best practices to help you flourish together. 

Here are some of them:

1. Nurture open channels of communication

Communication is the key to any successful partnership. You must keep in touch with your clients regularly, share updates, ask questions, and address any issues. You can use tools like Google Chat and Slack for quick chats or ClickUp’s messaging features for detailed project-related conversations. 

ClickUp’s Chat view feature is an excellent tool for enhancing project-related communication with your team, without switching from ClickUp to another tool.

ClickUp Chat View
Use ClickUp Chat to simplify communication with your team

ClickUp Chat allows you to

  • Create chat views for any level of work, from company-wide updates to specific teams or projects
  • Tag and assign people, tasks, docs, views, and locations with @mentions
  • Share attachments, links, embeds, and rich text formatting in your messages
  • Integrate with other communication tools like Google Chat, Slack, and Microsoft Teams
  • Receive notifications for any updates or mentions in your chat views

You can also use ClickUp’s Communication Plan Template to simplify planning your business development strategy. 

Improve team collaboration and communication with ClickUp’s Communication Plan Template

You can easily create a meaningful, actional plan with this template, as well as track your project goals and ensure you meet all deadlines. Use this template to 

  • Plan your internal and external communication strategy
  • Tailor and refine your messaging for your target audience
  • Communicate with your clients and concerned stakeholders steadily

2. Develop clear goals and expectations

Nothing brings agencies and clients together as effectively as shared goals. After all, when your client’s business grows, so does yours. And, when you outperform your targets, you both benefit. 

To make these success scenarios feasible, you and your clients need to have a clear vision of 

  • what you want to achieve, and 
  • how you’ll measure your progress 

With ClickUp Goals, you can set, track, and share specific, measurable, and time-bound goals that align with your client’s objectives. 

ClickUp Goals
Stay on track to your BHAGs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals) with ClickUp Goals

Use ClickUp Goals to

  • Create trackable Goals connected to your work. Set deadlines, owners, and permissions for each Goal, and monitor the progress percentage as you complete the Targets
  • Measure success with numerical, monetary, true/false, or task criteria. Create sprint Targets, weekly sales Targets, and more by adding tasks from different teams into a Goal
  • Add Goals cards to dashboards and see your Goal progress and other team metrics in one place. Customize the appearance and layout of your dashboards to suit your preferences

You can also integrate ClickUp with other project and client management tools like Jira and Trello, ensuring alignment across platforms

3. Understand each other’s business operations

To deliver solutions that work for your clients, you need to understand their business inside and out. That means knowing their goals, challenges, processes, and preferences—perhaps better than they know these. The more you talk and collaborate, the better you understand their needs and expectations and transform them into successful outcomes.

4. Encourage open feedback and communication

Feedback is essential for improving your performance and maintaining your client’s satisfaction. You should encourage your clients to share honest opinions and suggestions throughout the relationship. 

This open client communication will help you identify what’s working well and what needs improvement. You should also schedule regular check-ins or feedback sessions to discuss what’s going well and what could be improved.

5. Implement effective onboarding processes

A good onboarding process sets the tone for the rest of the relationship. It should provide your clients with all the information and resources they need to work with you smoothly. This could include things like welcome packets, training sessions, or access to platforms and tools. A good onboarding process will also help you establish trust and rapport with your clients from the get go.

6. Deliver consistently on promises

Nothing hurts a relationship more than broken promises. You need to be reliable and trustworthy, and that means delivering on your commitments and deadlines. It’s also important to be transparent about what you can and can’t do and to manage client expectations accordingly. 

That way, you’re both on the same page and can work together to fix things. If you encounter any problems or delays, you should inform your clients as soon as possible and work together to find a solution.

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Digital Marketing and Agency–Client Relationships

As an agency professional or marketer, you know how important it is to build enduring relationships with your clients. But how do you do that in the digital age, where communication and collaboration are more complex and dynamic than ever? That’s where digital marketing comes in.

Digital marketing tools for better communication

Digital marketing tools—from client project management platforms and analytics solutions to collaboration software—have changed how agencies and clients communicate and collaborate, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

These tools can help you

  • build shared calendars, tasks, and discussions, ensuring everyone is aligned and on track
  • break down silos with real-time communication and shared document and resource access
  • ensure prompt responses and proactive engagement, exceeding client expectations
  • tailor communication to client preferences, creating deeper connections
  • use analytics to make informed decisions and build client trust

Strategies for managing social media approval workflows 

Wondering how to maintain brand consistency and ensure compliance with brand guidelines and regulatory requirements? Effective social media approval workflows can help.

Here are a few tips that can help you manage social media approval workflows better: 

  • Utilize social media management platforms that allow you to create, schedule, and publish your social media posts across multiple platforms
  • Create content calendars that help you plan and organize your social media content in advance
  • Set up approval workflows that enable your clients to review and approve your social media posts before they go live
  • Use design tools that help you create visually appealing and engaging content for your social media posts
  • Ensure brand consistency and regulatory compliance through streamlined approval processes that check for any errors or violations

Role of strong client relationships in boosting marketing communications

A strong client–agency relationship is necessary for successful marketing communications and customer support. When agencies and clients have a solid rapport, they can communicate openly, share insights, and collaborate better, leading to more innovative and impactful marketing campaigns.

It also fosters trust and understanding with new clients, allowing agencies to gain deeper insights into the client’s brand, target audience, and objectives. This, in turn, enables agencies to create more tailored and effective marketing strategies that resonate with the client’s audience.

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Overcoming Challenges in Customer–Agency Relationships

A healthy client–agency relationship is integral to the success of any project, but they often come with their own challenges. From scope creep to budget pressures, handling conflicting expectations, to managing workflow, there’s a lot that can go wrong. 

Here’s how you can tackle these issues head-on:

1. Scope creep

Scope creep is the gradual expansion of a project beyond its initial objectives. It can happen due to various reasons, such as changing customer needs, unclear requirements, or poor project management. It can lead to budget overruns, missed deadlines, and strained relationships. 

To prevent scope creep,

  • Make sure both parties understand the scope of work and what’s included or excluded from the project
  • Establish a change management process that requires formal approval for any changes in scope
  • Maintain open and transparent communication to address any scope changes as soon as they arise and prevent them from derailing the project

2. Budget pressures and economic downturn

Budget pressures can stem from various sources, including unexpected expenses, fluctuating market conditions, or economic downturns. These factors can affect your project’s finances and feasibility and may require you to adjust your plans and expectations.

To navigate this challenge,

  • Allocate a portion of the budget for unforeseen expenses
  • Focus on high-impact tasks that align with the project’s objectives
  • Seek opportunities to negotiate better deals or payment terms with suppliers and vendors

3. Conflicts and unclear expectations

Conflicting expectations can arise when there’s a mismatch between what the client or customer expects and what the agency delivers. This can happen due to poor communication, lack of clarity, or unrealistic assumptions. Conflicting expectations lead to dissatisfaction, frustration, and disputes.

To resolve this,

  • Define project goals, deliverables, timelines, and responsibilities from the outset
  • Schedule periodic check-ins to ensure both parties are aligned on expectations and progress
  • Keep detailed records of meetings, agreements, and communications to avoid misunderstandings

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to tackling challenges in the client-agency relationship but with a little practice and a lot of patience, you can work around and diffuse most situations well.

A successful agency-client relationship: Finastra and ClickUp

Many organizations across the globe are adopting these best practices to improve their agency–client relationships. One of them is Finastra, a leading financial technology company that provides software solutions for banks and financial institutions.

Finastra faced challenges with fragmented go-to-market (GTM) planning, resulting in inconsistent campaign delivery and customer journeys. They needed a platform that could help them streamline their GTM processes, improve their collaboration, and enhance their customer experience.

That’s why they chose ClickUp’s powerful project management platform, which offers a range of features and integrations to manage any type of project. By using ClickUp, Finastra’s marketing team achieved,

  • A 30% increase in collaboration effectiveness, as they were able to communicate and coordinate better with their internal and external stakeholders
  • A 40% growth in total GTM efficiency, as they were able to automate and optimize their GTM workflows—from planning to execution and analysis
  • A significant improvement in their customer journeys, as they were able to create more innovative and impactful marketing campaigns that resonated with their target audience

ClickUp also provided Finastra’s leadership real-time access to project status and performance, improving communication and transparency. 

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Tools that Enhance Agency–Client Communication

The right set of tools can go a long way in helping you maintain strong client relationships and ensure long-term customer success. How do you know what to look for? Such tools should focus on effective communication, streamlined task management, and the ability to help you address client needs. 

And one platform that can do it all is ClickUp. The best part? ClickUp understands that not all agencies use the same tools in the same way. So, you can almost endlessly customize ClickUp’s project management platform in a way that works best for you and your clients. 

1. Visualize progress with custom dashboards 

Use ClickUp Dashboards to tailor your specific workflows to client requirements and better manage everything from lead generation to customer management and client retention. 

ClickUp Dashboard
Let clients rack progress on tasks and visualize performance with ClickUp Dashboards

The dashboard feature allows you to distribute work effectively between your team, allocate resources, and plan and track your tasks. You can visualize your progress by adding pie, line, and bar graphs.

You can also share customized dashboards with clients, showcasing project progress, campaign performance, and upcoming deadlines in real time. This builds trust and eliminates the need for constant status updates.

Finally, use dashboards to tell compelling data stories. Visualize trends, identify opportunities, and justify recommendations. This builds client confidence in your expertise and strategic thinking.

2. Streamline client outreach, communication, and management  

ClickUp’s CRM system helps you enhance your agency–client relationship by allowing you to manage your sales pipeline, track and manage your accounts, and collaborate with your team and clients, in one place. 

ClickUp’s CRM system
Enhance client satisfaction with ClickUp’s CRM system

You can use ClickUp CRM to

  • Keep track of client details, communication history, and important notes
  • Manage potential clients and track their progress through the sales pipeline
  • Track potential deals and assess their value and likelihood of closing
  • Assign tasks related to client management and set deadlines to ensure timely follow-up
  • Streamline repetitive tasks and workflows, such as sending follow-up emails or updating client records
  • Gain insights into client interactions, sales performance, and overall business health

Get an intuitive way to manage contacts, sales, and essential data on one platform with ClickUp’s Simple CRM Template. Customize the template to reflect all essential client information and ensure effortless pipeline organization. 

Enhance your CRM strategies with ClickUp’s Simple CRM template

Whether you’re dealing with customers or vendors, the template streamlines the process, helping you stay organized and on top of every interaction. 

Use this template to:

  • Simplify customer data management
  • Automate sales processes 
  • Get a comprehensive view of customer interactions
  • Track sales progress
  • Analyze feedback and trends in customer or vendor interactions
  • Make informed decisions to enhance customer experience

With time-tracking capabilities, tags, dependency warnings, and email integration, ClickUp’s Simple CRM Template is the perfect solution for managing client relationships effectively. 

3. Collaborate seamlessly with clients 

Use ClickUp’s Creative Agency Project Management capabilities to work together with your clients. It offers a range of features and integrations that can help you manage your projects, communicate with your clients, and deliver high-quality work. 

ClickUp’s Creative Agency Project Management Software
Enhance agency productivity and efficiency with ClickUp’s Creative Agency Project Management Software

Here are some of the benefits of using this tool: 

  • Centralize your communication with your clients using chat views, comments, feedback, and approvals within ClickUp
  • Invite your clients to join your workspace and collaborate with you on tasks, docs, and goals
  • Streamline your workflows and gain visibility into every step with features like task lists, subtasks, checklists, dependencies, statuses, priorities, and more 
  • Create custom workflows that suit your specific needs—using automation, templates, and custom fields
  • Integrate ClickUp with other tools, such as email, calendar, invoicing, and more, to streamline your work processes
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Enhancing Successful Client–Agency Relationships

Stable, long-lasting agency–client relationships don’t happen by chance. They require conscious effort, understanding, and investment—at both ends. And they can make all the difference between success and failure for your agency. 

ClickUp, with its array of features such as real-time collaboration, CRM capabilities, customizable workflows, and integration with third-party tools, offers a comprehensive solution to address the challenges commonly faced in maintaining persisting agency–client relationships. 

By leveraging ClickUp, you can streamline your operations, improve communication, and ultimately deliver exceptional results for your clients. It can be the glue that makes your bond with your clients stronger.

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Common FAQs

1. How do you build client–agency relationships?

There are several ways in which you can build and nurture strong client–agency relationships. To build strong and lasting partnerships with your clients, you need to 

  • communicate clearly
  • understand their needs and goals
  • set realistic and mutually agreed-upon expectations
  • be transparent and honest about your work and progress
  • provide value and quality
  • be proactive and responsive
  • handle any conflicts or issues professionally and respectfully

2. What is the development of a good agency–client relationship?

Developing a good agency–client relationship can be divided into five stages: discovery and understanding, strategy development, execution, evaluation, and iteration. In each stage, both parties need to collaborate, communicate, and align their expectations and objectives and work towards achieving them together.

3. How do you build good relationships with clients?

To build good relationships with clients, you must communicate effectively, deliver on your promises, understand their business and audience, provide value and solutions, be proactive and anticipate their needs, be transparent and accountable, and handle conflicts or feedback professionally.

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