There was an interesting new column in CorpComms magazine this month, in which they teamed up with QuestionONE to put these questions to agencies and in-house communicators:

Do you think your clients value the work that you do? / Do you think your agencies are worth the money?

Do your clients believe you deliver on the promises you make? / Has your PR agency delivered on the promise it made since its appointment?

The results were certainly revealing. While one third of managers and board directors at agencies believe that clients ‘completely and utterly’ value the work that they do, 41 per cent of in-house directors expressed disappointment with the quality of advice they receive.

As professional communicators, the irony here is clear. It’s all too easy, especially in challenging economic circumstances, to be blinded by tactics and overlook the importance of having a full and frank discussion with your client. Perhaps it’s workload. Perhaps it’s not wanting to rock the boat. But, whatever the reason, the simple truth is, if you’re not communicating effectively, you’re storing up problems for the longer term.

And if satisfaction levels are not being communicated openly, what other messages aren’t getting through?

PR activities must be tuned into a business’s core objectives. If the channel of dialogue between agency and client isn’t fully open, the campaign will suffer and relationships will fail to last.

Accurate reporting is key, of course (see The strange case of the missing press release and other PR Agency management mystery stories), but that needs to come in tandem with regular and free-flowing discussions.

Go on. Why not pick up the phone right now? You might be surprised at what you learn.

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