In the agency world, client churn is inevitable. For various reasons, accounts are moved in-house or passed to other agencies.
Needless to say, it stinks when it doesn’t work out and the account is moved away from your agency. The best thing to do in this situation is to continue to be helpful and as pleasant as possible throughout the transition.
Here are four tips for a harmonious transition.
1. Make a Quick Reference Guide
After working on the account for a while, you know which keywords perform best and you know which keywords that you need to keep an eye on. You know which keywords require a lot of mapping and which ones your competitors are aggressively bidding on. You likely have a routine for monitoring and optimizing the account and, although it isn’t required, it is helpful if you’re willing to share those insights to the client.
Do you need to share your bag of tricks with a competing agency? Not necessarily. You should, however, provide them with a guide that details anything structural about the account that they might not immediately understand. If you use a nomenclature standard to name your campaigns that isn’t easily understood, let them know. Copying your client on these types of communications prevents a finger being pointed at you in the future when something is implemented incorrectly due to a misunderstanding. Not to mention, it certainly won’t hurt your client’s opinion of you when you go out of your way to ensure the account health takes priority over any hard feelings.
2. Share Learnings, Initiatives and Blue Prints
Sometimes you might have a little heads up that a client is leaving. They may give you 30 days notice or you may have seen the writing on the wall. Still, regardless of when they leave, there are likely ideas or plans that that you’ll not have the opportunity to implement.
It’s helpful to put together a one-page (or more!) of any initiatives that are in progress, recent learnings, or tips you can share. No need to go crazy writing down every little redundant detail about the account: just things that the client may not be aware of. It’s always appreciated and it helps to end the work on a good note.
3. Be Candid with Feedback
Do you have suggestions about attribution, expectations or anything else that would benefit the client? Hopefully you’ve been direct with the client throughout your entire relationship but this is one last opportunity to put in your two cents. You might be thinking, “Why bother?” Your feedback almost certainly won’t stop the client from leaving. However, it may ring true in the future and it could help to bring them back. We’ve had a few clients who have left and returned after realizing the grass wasn’t greener on the other side. This isn’t a time for “I told you so” or scapegoating; just an opportunity to give constructive and honest feedback.
4. Maintain Relationships
It stinks to lose an account — it really does.
Still, just because the business relationship has ended doesn’t mean that the personal relationship has to. Remaining friendly and helpful throughout the entire transition leaves the door open for future initiatives. You never know when your contact may be ready to hire another agency, either at their current company or at a new one. Even if not, they may be willing to act as a reference for future new business. Do your best to be remembered the way that you want your current clients to view you.
Hopefully your positive transition will afford you future opportunities with the client. If not, at least you can rest easy knowing that you’ve done everything in your power to preserve performance once it is no longer within your control.
Do you have any tips for offloading accounts? We’d love to hear them in the comment section!