An agency’s client relationships transition for countless reasons. Sometimes the project has simply run its natural course. Other times there is a major shift in a client’s business strategy and budgets are best spent in a different direction. Sometimes, despite the best intentions by all parties, it simply isn’t the right fit anymore.
As the communications agency of record, no matter why the client has chosen to part ways, there are several key elements to consider as you tie up loose ends.
First and foremost, provide exceptional client service through the end—and then beyond. People change jobs and companies all the time. Your client today may end of up working in a new company down the road, and you want that person to remember the professionalism and honesty the team provided throughout the relationship. Continue to send interesting articles or industry trends that catch your eye. Keep Google alerts live to track the client’s progress. Forward any incoming media requests quickly and ensure your former, or soon-to-be former, client is staffed to follow up appropriately. Hand over promised documents in a timely, organized and efficient manner.
Second, analyze every aspect of the relationship and work produced. Celebrate the wins but more importantly, be honest with what could have been approached differently. Schedule an in-person wrap-up meeting with all key players and prepare to answer questions about what you would have done differently. Brainstorm and think through tough questions in advance and engage all relevant team members in the transition process.
Finally, remember that all of this applies to both sides of the relationship. You should hopefully feel empowered to talk with a transitioning client honestly about what they might want to change moving forward with regard to their communications program. Approach this part of the conversation from a place of mutual respect, conveying that their future success is extremely important to everyone on the agency team.
Change is never easy, especially when you are deeply passionate about the clients and programs you represent. Yet change is the one (and only) constant in PR, and how you approach each and every transition will set you up for long-term success. Approach the end of a client relationship honestly, thoughtfully and with the same attention to detail and service you brought to the program on day one.