Stopping the silent agency killer…

Some agencies are working a 4 day week…and they don’t even know it.

The 4 day week has been adopted by many companies in the last few years. Some of my agency clients are committed to it.

There are, however, many other agencies effectively doing a 4 day week, but their owners and employees are not seeing the benefit of it. Far from it.

After 25 plus years in agency land I know there’s a prevalent issue that often goes unnoticed – over-servicing clients. Over-servicing, or providing more work to clients than what they’ve paid for, is a silent profit-killer.

It’s not uncommon for agencies to over-service clients at a rate of 20-30% of the overall time. This equates to working one full day a week for free, without any compensation or recognition.

This is a significant proportion of billable hours that are silently slipping away, directly impacting the agency’s bottom line. At first glance, over-servicing may seem like a beneficial practice, as happy clients often mean repeat business. However, over-servicing can lead to a dangerous escalation of client expectations to unrealistic levels. What was once seen as ‘extra’ gradually becomes the ‘expected’, and this can create a slippery slope of increasing pressure on your team, potentially leading to burnout.

But it’s not just about the immediate impact on team morale and profits. Over-servicing clients can set a precedent that devalues your work, leading clients to expect more for less. This can make future rate negotiations challenging, creating a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.

STANDOUT agencies strike the right balance between delivering exceptional value to the client, and maintaining the profitability and sustainability of their agency. This balance begins with acknowledging and addressing the issue of over-servicing.

How do you manage over-servicing in your agency? Is it under control?

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