Agency business is risky, but there are ways to identify and minimize these risks. Some red flags are so impactful that you need to fix them immediately.
So, as soon as you receive such objections or complaints from your prospects, you should immediately take action.
Although all of your prospects' or stakeholders' objections can't be that serious or consequential, some of them can spell disaster for your agency business.
Different clients might have various reasons for deciding not to choose your company at any point in time.
So, you should consistently evaluate and analyze your products and services and keep an eye on the red flags to prevent any unexpected developments.
The Top 8 Red Flags for Your Agency Business
We used our 10+ years of agency business experience to list the eight key factors and red flags that may scare your clients away from you.
1. Overpromising Results
People forgive, but they hardly forget. Over-promising and under-delivering in all walks of life are usually despised and derided. It hurts your reputation and is a big red flag for your clients. You may try to justify it using strong arguments, but it's seen with scorn and leads to prevailing negative sentiments. You can temporarily quash the complaints and dissatisfaction, but just one more mistake by your agency can prove to be the last nail in the coffin of the ongoing contract.
Overpromising and under-delivering is a sure-shot way to client dissatisfaction that kills your business prospects. A simple apology doesn't work here.
Regardless of the size of your business, just one or two unhappy customers can make everything come tumbling down.
If you can't meet the deadlines, be upfront, and they'll take their project elsewhere. At least they will score you positively on the values scale and will not post any negative feedback about your services. Bad news spreads rapidly on social networks, so try to guard your reputation at any cost.
Pro Tip: Set clear expectations. Nothing kills trust faster than false promises and poor delivery. Do a SWOT analysis and promise what you can deliver per your skills, experience, and capacity.
2. Lack of Openness and Transparency
Some agency owners deliberately put a veil of secrecy over their project details. Nothing can be more disastrous than a lack of transparency and openness in the service industry.
A large chunk of the business worldwide is conducted through the precious currency of trust. Failure to update your clients about the forthcoming hurdles and an attempt to cover up your mistakes may backfire on you severely.
Pro Tip: Things don't always happen according to a plan. So, keeping your clients in the dark about a project's issues can be fatal. Maintaining transparency boosts trust and prevents messy situations.
3. Ineffective Communication
Smooth and consistent communication is the root of a strong relationship between an agency and its clients. Since digital marketing is dynamic, an expectational mismatch is quite common, but sometimes, people from other industries don't understand the ever-changing nature of online marketing. To avoid it, you need to add reporting to your workflow.
At any point in time, your client must be aware of the deliverables of the week and well-defined expectations. Things can get messy after a communication breakdown. Nothing can be more frustrating for a client than missed deadlines and poor communication.
Ambiguous expectations can also blow out of proportion in no time. These issues can completely jeopardize your project and may lead to your client slipping away from your hands.
Ineffective communication may lead to:
- Missed opportunities
- The dissemination of misinformation
- Poor customer satisfaction and unhappiness
Here are some important tips you can follow –
- Clearly define tasks and set logical deadlines. If there is a delay, update your client immediately and explain why.
- Always maintain a constant line of communication to prevent second-guessing, confusion, and mistrust from beginning to stir.
- Schedule weekly meetings on a specific day to keep the agency employees and the clients on the same page.
Pro Tip: Use DashClicks' white label platform to share real-time updates and reports about your projects.
4. Hurried Onboardings and Rushed Interactions
Have you ever worked with a demanding client? They won't tolerate a single copy or graphic that doesn't align with their branding. And if it happens a few times and they are not happy with your deliverables; they will soon press the pause button on the project and go elsewhere. It is, therefore, important to understand their vision and branding needs.
Pro Tip: Spend more time on client onboarding. Automatic onboarding will save you time and energy. You can use DashClicks' onboarding features to automate the whole process and save time.
Pro Tip: Onboarding is crucial to understanding the scope of work and branding guidelines. It also includes learning the common terminology to be used so that working with your client is a smooth experience for your team.
Ā 5. Pushing for Long-Term Contracts
Chad Kodary, CEO, DashClicks, clearly warns agencies about forcing long-term contracts on clients. It is the easiest way to lose your clients. The best way is to go for a step-by-step value-based sales plan.
The idea is to offer value starting from low-value products, deliver results, and subtly pitch for the services up the value ladder. Give them the freedom to choose the tenure to build long-term relationships.
Pro Tip: Start with short-term engagements and give your client the time to evaluate your services before you go for long-term contracts.
Apart from that, there are many other red flags you should be careful about.
6. Negative Reviews
Bad reviews can seriously hurt your reputation and scare your prospective clients away. You need online reputation management to neutralize the impact of bad reviews.
Pro Tip: Use DashClicks' reputation management software that helps you offset the impact of negative reviews and posts. Manage your reviews across multiple sources from one dashboard and win more customers.
7. Lack of Testimonials
It can act as a red flag if you don't have genuine testimonials and case studies on your website. The informed customers look for testimonials, case studies, and online reviews before they choose an agency to work with.
Here are some tips you should follow –
- Ask your existing clients to leave positive reviews if they are happy with your services. It will increase your online real estate.
- Invest in content marketing and create impressive case studies to prove your expertise in your niche.
- Use actual data and Google Analytics screenshots to support what you claim.
- Use DashClicks’ white label content marketing service to create high-value marketing content for your agency and clients.
8. Poor Business Processes
If your customers need to interact with a different individual every time they have a query, you don't have the right business processes. Poor business processes may also result in asynchronous services, missed deadlines, and lots of back and forth.
Pro Tip: Use DashClicksā€™ project management software that is crafted for agencies. Our project management app provides the easiest and most powerful way to manage your projects, teams, customers, and more.
Businesses do a thorough investigation when hiring an agency. There are many red flags and warning signs that can scare them. As an agency owner, you must know these red flags and how to fix them to improve your deliverables.
But, beyond everything else, you should come out as an authentic, transparent, and honest agency. Maintain robust and consistent communication, both with your clients and internal teams. You can use a software platform such as DashClicksĀ to implement that.
Don't provide an experience to your clients that may frustrate them. It not only dims your prospects but also pits you against the entire industry. In the end, focus on your services and keep your clients happy and satisfied because they are the ones that will keep you in business.