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The Fifth Sin of Agency Owners – Over-Servicing to Keep the Client Happy

Your confidence in yourself can be your downfall. My fifth sin shows the dangers of offering too much just to show that you can.

You started your business feeling completely confident in what you have to offer.

And that confidence paid off. You got your first few clients and delivered a great service. Then, you start onboarding even more clients. That’s when you realize that many don’t have the same confidence in you that you have in yourself.

That opens the door for you to commit a big sin for agency owners.

The Symptoms

Are you falling all over yourself to keep clients happy?

What I mean by that is have you delivered more than you should just to improve a client’s faith in you?

That’s the first symptom of this sin. You’re trying to keep the client happy no matter what. But the reality is that the client signs up with you to get a result.

It’s the result that makes them happy.

That leads to another symptom. You may be spending too much time trying to impress the client and not enough time having frank conversations about results. That means you’re probably committing this sin.

The third symptom is when you have account managers coming to you saying that they feel overwhelmed. They’re spending all of their time putting out client fires.

That’s because you’re offered too much to the client just to improve their confidence.

The Problem

The big issue here is that you empower the client to act like a needy child. They say “jump” and you say “how high?”

This erodes your staff’s energy and eats into your agency’s profits. You have to hire more people to keep up with all of the extra work you create for yourself. That means you end up with a bloated agency that’s operating inefficiently.

Worse yet, clients become so accustomed to receiving free work that they expect it as part of your service.

The Root Cause

This sin comes down to failing to set clear expectations at the beginning of the relationship. Your clients need guardrails in place to tell them where the relationship begins and ends.

That means you need to train your team so they know what they should and shouldn’t offer.

There are two key performance indicators (KPIs) that I recommend tracking to confront this issue:

  1. Utilization Rate. Healthy agencies have a utilization rate of about 60%. That means that 6 out of every 10 hours that your people work are billable.
  2. Time Tracking. You should know approximately how long certain tasks take. Make sure your people aren’t spending too long on those tasks.

Put those KPIs in place and you’ll soon see if you’re committing the sin of over-servicing.

Dev “Expectation Setter” Basu