Despite your best efforts, there may come a time when you find out that things aren’t going as smoothly as you would like them to. You may be left wondering if you’re a difficult client or if your agency just flat out stinks. Regardless of the answers surrounding your deepest agency related questions, it’s helpful to know if you’re the problem or if your agency isn’t doing what they should.
How You Feel: Like a Pest
We’ve all been there,especially when we’re confused about something that is beyond our scope of knowledge. You reach out to ask some questions about the start date, the progress and how things are going.
Responses are seldom received and sporadic. There is a subtle annoyance from the other side that can be sensed from your interactions—or the lack thereof. Communications are short and your point of contact seems to not have enough time to answer your questions. All you need are answers, but you can’t help but feel like a pest.
The Truth: You Shouldn’t Have to Hound Your Agency
You shouldn’t have to be hounding your agency for updates. Details should be provided before you even have to ask.
There should be a clear plan and timeline for your reference. Consistent communication is what makes an agency successful. If you have questions and you’re not getting answers, it’s time to talk address your concerns.
There are instances in which an agency is busy to the point that things are falling through the cracks. That’s never a good thing. An agency needs to operate in a way that is able to handle your needs. If you’ve scoped and agreed upon work together, they should be able to guide you through the journey.
The hard truth is that many agencies don’t consider their own capacities. They just take on business for the sake of money, which leads to a horrible, confusing and miserable experience for you.
- Ask agencies before you sign on the dotted lines about the culture. How do they handle capacity concerns?
- Evaluate the speed to which an agency responds to you during the sales process. How fast do they get back? Do they do what they say they will? First impressions are everything.
How You Feel: Like You’re Incompetent
There are times when you feel like you’re not being guided in the right direction.
You may find yourself asking several questions as to why you don’t understand the information being sent or put out in front of you. What’s that big jargony word? Why are we doing a certain activity and how does it contribute to the overall picture? Why is that deliverable important? Where are we going to achieve this project? What’s the next step? You can’t help but feel, well, a bit stupid. You’re confused as to what you’re doing, where you are and where the project is going. You feel like you just can’t keep up with your agency.
The Truth: An Agency Should Act as a Guide
An agency needs to convey the importance of a particular project and provide a meticulously detailed timeline of important milestones before it even begins.
Being vague in the beginning, and your resulted confusion, isn’t on you—it’s on the agency. An agency partner should act as a guide and trailblazer.
You’re not the expert on agency services. It’s their job to keep you informed and up-to-date on all of their practices. If you’re unsure about specifics, it’s their responsibility to clear up any confusion. They should detail the journey ahead, explain it without jargon and continue updating the entire team as to where the work is and where it’s going.
- The way an agency scopes a project and writes a proposal will tell you a lot about them. If the proposal is skimpy and unclear, the resulting work will most likely be unclear as well. If the agency doesn’t provide a detailed journey, again, the resulting work will most likely be confusing.
How You Feel: Like Your Standards Are Impossible
You move forward with an agency, but the work doesn’t reflect what’s in your head. In fact, it’s not even close. From your communications with your agency point of contact, you can’t help but feel like your standards are impossible to reach. It seems as though you will never come to a resolution on the final product. You’re left feeling hopeless and frustrated. This situation can be hard to identify. There are times when you aren’t being specific enough. You tell your agency one thing, but you have a completely different idea in your head.
The Truth: The Agency Needs to Draw Out Your Goals
The agency should be aiming for a world-class quality of work. They should also be aiming to achieve your goals. It’s on them to intentionally draw and listen to your goals and all the nitty gritty details.
The Truth: The Agency Should Have the Skills
The agency should also have the skills required to complete the job at hand. If they spend time scoping and evaluating the project and say they can do it to the standard you request then they should be able to fulfill their end of the bargain. Often times, agencies promise the moon and deliver a bag of crushed chips.
The Other Truth: Be Sure You Know What You’re Trying to Achieve and/or Want
This item happens to be a two-way street. The agency should have steps in their process to listen, but if you have no clue what you want, then those steps won’t help much.
It’s important to go into process knowing exactly what it is that you want. Do your research and find examples of work that you like. Present your findings at the first creative session with your agency and try to be as specific as possible. Now, this doesn’t mean you won’t have differences of opinions along the way. In the design-related process, it’s common for several rounds to take place first before a final decision is made. Be willing to roll with the punches and be sure to offer detailed feedback along the way.
When communications and results aren’t matching up to your expectations, one of the best courses of action is to enhance your own line of communications. Be clear about what it is that you want.
- Again, know what it is you’re looking to achieve.
- Seek an agency that has meticulous processes and that is willing to listen and understand your goals.
- Look for an agency that has high-touch communication. One that communicates and collaborates with you often.
It’s Not You, It’s Them
The bottom line: sometimes it’s not you being difficult. Sometimes your agency isn’t the best. Evaluate your selection critically from the outset. Utilize the prevention techniques above.
Any questions? Sound off below!