There is a lot to think about when you are considering working with an agency. The price tag and hard numbers are probably top of mind, but there are a few “softer” qualities that you should be evaluated as well. Empathy and company culture should actually be a major part of your decision to work with an agency or not.
The role of empathy
I feel empathy is a powerful trait in business in general. Having empathy for your employees gives them a sense that you care…that you value them above profits and you care about them as human beings. At Fingerpaint, I try every day to ensure my employees feel valued. This helps create an environment of loyalty. It also shows them how I want them to treat our clients.
Corporate empathy has been repeatedly proven to yield success for the companies that prioritize it. As stated in an article from Harvard Business Review, “empathy pays, and it pays best when it comes from the top.” Empathy can, in fact, be measured and a higher empathy quotient correlates with a strong culture and successful business, as displayed by companies topping the list of empathetic companies, including LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Audi.
Our clients should care about empathy from their agencies. Does the agency care about our success, our brand, our people? Will they go the extra mile to ensure we are successful? Will they be there for us when the chips are down? What about when there is a tight deadline? Will they go above and beyond even if we don’t have anything remaining in the budget? The best agencies combine great strategy and creativity with a true sense of empathy and caring for their customers.
Company culture as a competitive advantage
The culture of an agency says a lot about them. If you view company culture strictly as an internal factor in business, I challenge you to rethink this. I believe that your company’s culture is an asset and can give you a competitive edge if it’s carried out the right way.
I hear a few common complaints about agencies, and they can all be tied back to the quality of the culture. High turnover, a team that isn’t engaged and is saturated with junior-levels, and not being treated like a priority are all results of something being amiss within the culture.
Employees who feel valued, motivated, and truly love what they do and where they work will treat clients with the same respect, dedication, and enthusiasm.
Teach your people how to treat your clients through leading by example. Practice empathy, make them feel like a priority and encourage creativity. The effort you put into cultivating a first-class culture will result in higher quality work and more satisfied clients. On the other hand, if you are preparing to enter a relationship with an agency, take a hard look at their company culture, how their leadership functions, and how their employees are treated before signing on.
I teach my philosophy to others in the business world so that they can learn how to use empathy and company culture to better serve their clients…and therefore become more successful. If you are looking for solutions, give me a call to set up a time for me to come share my expertise with you and your team. Want to request an RFP? Even better. Visit my company website to get in touch.