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5 questions to see how well your agency is delivering for clients

If you aren’t delivering excellent results for clients, you will struggle to keep them on board and force yourself into an endless cycle of signing and churning clients.

If that work isn’t being done profitably, your agency won’t be able to survive.

Striking the right balance to get results for both you and your clients isn’t easy, but it is fundamental to agency success.

The AIM-GET Framework that I have created as part of the Build to Own approach to help guide agencies includes a focus on proper and profitable execution of the work that you have been hired to do.

To understand how well you are meeting your client service objectives, answer these 5 questions:

Are all of your clients satisfied with the value of the work you provide them?

No agency can avoid all client complaints – many of which may even be justified. But if you find your clients consistently complaining about the work you do or the results you produce, that’s something that you need to pay attention to. 

It’s easy to write these off as clients having unrealistic expectations, but you need to set those expectations during the business development process and then continue reinforcing them over time.

Do you have clearly defined processes that allow team members to cover for each other during absences?

Small agencies typically operate with far less support for day-to-day client work. Often a client may be served by just a single team member. 

Clear documentation and processes help to make it easier for any employee to take time off. Whether that employee is you or someone you hired, it is a huge drain on morale if you feel like you can’t step away without things falling apart. 

Everyone should be able to have a sick day, take a vacation, or get called away for an emergency without an expectation that everything halts in their absence.

Are you confident about your team’s ability to deliver excellent results to clients for all of the services that you currently offer?

Many agencies claim a wide range of services, some of which they may have only limited experience in delivering. 

Sometimes this is done because the agencies believe it will sound more attractive to a potential client, while in others it may be a service that has been provided to a client in the past but there is no real in-house expertise to sustain it. 

If you offer a service in a proposal or on your website, you need to be confident that you can deliver it in a manner that lives up to the expectations that your clients have. Ideally that means using in-house talent, but it could also be done by a trusted contractor with whom you have an ongoing and sustainable relationship.

Does your agency have a well-implemented process for employee time tracking?

Nobody likes timesheets. But they are a necessity for agencies because the largest expense is almost always labor cost. 

If you don’t understand how you and your team are spending your time, you can’t price effectively and it makes it really difficult to staff appropriately. 

Using accurate time tracking enables you to do project budgeting to understand who your most profitable clients are and identify the profit leaks that you can fix.

Do you keep most of your projects within scope and consistent with the time estimates you used to set the price for the client?

A lot of us who started agencies are people-pleasers at heart. We want to serve our clients and see smiles on their faces. Our teams generally reflect that same approach. 

While there’s nothing wrong with that up to a point, it can be a serious drain on profitability if it means that we just do whatever a client asks without regard to whether it was included in the original price. 

Time tracking can help determine the magnitude of the problem, but the first step is to be aware of the fact that the work being done for a client no longer matches what was promised (and priced) for them in the beginning of the engagement.


Producing great results for clients while delivering reasonable profits for the business lies at the heart of any successful agency.

The Execution portion of the AIM-GET Framework helps you to evaluate how well your systems and processes for client service help you to meet this objective. Understanding where you are today using the questions in this article will help you to map out a plan for the future that meets your needs and helps you hit your own growth goals.

SAGA’s Agency Health Assessment can help you to look at some of the key drivers of success to identify other areas you may wish to focus on for improvement.

Chip Griffin

Chip Griffin

Chip is the Founder of the Small Agency Growth Alliance and a longtime agency leader and entrepreneur. He helps PR and marketing agency owners build businesses they want to own.

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