18 Sep

Is Your Agency Delivering Great Customer Service? Here Are 3 Things to Look For

By Libby Esterle, Senior Account Executive

Yearning for warmer weather, I recently ordered a tank top online. After trying it on, I decided that I wanted to exchange it, just to give me a little more “wiggle room.” Mind you, this was in no way the fault of the company, as they delivered exactly what I ordered.

So, I set about starting the exchange process in a chat portal with one of their customer service reps that went a little like this:

Me: Hello. I would like to exchange my tank top for a size up. How do I go about that?

Rep: I apologize for the trouble with your order! To correct this issue, I have processed a free reprint of your order in M. Your replacement item will be shipped in 5-10 business days. Regarding the old, you can keep it. No need to send it back.

Me: Wow! Thanks! What great customer service in a day where you don’t see that happen much anymore!

Turns out, excellent customer service, like chivalry, is NOT DEAD. You just gotta know where to find it (I’m looking at you, Chick Fil A or get lucky, like I did with this order).

So, this got me thinking- as a full-service, Cincinnati-based marketing and communications agency, what do our clients value the most? We know that our clients’ budgets are managed carefully and that their time is precious. What are some things you should watch for to ensure you’re receiving great customer service from your agency?

We recently had an off-site at the super cool Summit Hotel to discuss exactly this. While our clients know they can count on us for our expertise and skills in writing, measurement, public relations and marketing, we also identified the less tangible service qualities our clients can count on us for.

  • Agility- When things don’t go as planned or a client needs something yesterday, how does your agency respond? You should be able to count on them to bend however and whenever you need to get back on track. We recently began working with a new client that was urgently working to rebrand and rename their firm. However, they didn’t have anything in the way of their new name or branding/design and yet, they still needed collateral pieces for an upcoming tradeshow. So, without much direction about their new look and feel, our designer turned around three concepts in less than 20 hours for the client to consider in order for them to meet the tradeshow deadline.
  • Flexibility– Not everything happens between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. so it’s important to be flexible and available when needed if something pops up. The good news? Today’s technology makes that easier than ever.
  • Easy to work with– It’s really that simple. Working with pleasant people makes all the difference, especially when things may not go as planned. Awhile ago, I was managing a large direct mail printing project only to discover that the vendor accidentally misquoted a couple of line items and, unfortunately, it was going to cost our client more than expected. Luckily, everyone involved was understanding and pleasant to work with and, after the vendor absorbed some, but not all, of the additional costs, we came to an agreement on the new quote and completed the project.

Tell me, what do you find valuable when working with an agency or strategic partner?