When measuring performance, companies often consider numbers before everything else. While numerical data can gauge the success of many endeavors, it can’t tell you everything. After running two successful agencies, I’ve found ways to help my clients evaluate progress that rely on more than just numbers-driven results.
Our agency, Fingerpaint, is a human-focused business, and our performance evaluation process relies on frequent, honest communication. In this article, I’m going to discuss how to better assess effectiveness and how clients and agencies can work together to improve their relationships and overall performance.
Improved Performance Requires Two-way Communication. In a typical client-agency partnership, it’s common practice for clients to provide agencies with feedback. But it’s also beneficial for agencies to critique clients. As in any relationship, both parties play an essential role in how things get done. Improvement and revisions on the agency side won’t be able to solve every problem.
One way to measure progress is to see what your agency has to say about your internal team. If they come back and say, “they are highly responsive, helpful, and appreciative” then you’re on the right track. If you inquire only to find out that your team doesn’t provide the resources the agency requires in a timely manner, that’s an issue you can fix.
If both sides strive to improve based on the feedback the other party provides, the relationship will ultimately be more harmonious and successful.
Ask the Right Questions. I find when numbers are taken out of the equation, clients have a harder time defining success. Here are some sample questions that clients could ask themselves to gauge whether or not the agency is performing to the best of their ability.
- Is the agency responsive and respectful of your team?
- Do you feel that the agency consistently goes above and beyond expectations?
- Do they usually do what is asked of them within the established timeline?
- Are their services achieving the goals you set?
- Do they tell you when they think your ideas are off-strategy, or do they always say yes?
- Do they bring new ideas and a fresh perspective to the table?
Answering yes to all these questions likely means your agency is performing well and that you have a positive partnership with them. If you’re still dissatisfied with the results you’re seeing, it might be time to look deeper into other elements that could be affecting them.
Create Space to Improve Often. It’s vital for both agency and client to make time to communicate their concerns. At Fingerpaint, we meet with clients regularly to check in on our performance. Formal evaluations allow teams to step out of the chaos of daily tasks to consider what is or isn’t working in the grand scheme of a project.
After receiving feedback, expected follow-up evaluations add accountability and provide a deadline for revisions and improvement. The clearer expectations are, the more likely they are to be met. This frequent collaboration for improvement strengthens relationships and results in higher quality work.