The relationship between an agency and their client is the fundamental foundation with which to develop successful, profitable and enduring results.
If the relationship between customer and agency is strained in any way, it will undoubtedly affect the eventual outcome of the website project or paid search strategy. More importantly, it will cause the day-to-day working relationship to be – at best – uncomfortable or – at worst – actively antagonistic.
And nobody wants that.
Agency staff or client team, we’re all people and things work better when the agency-client relationship is one that brings out the best in one another. The dream relationship is one that fosters an open and honest channel of communication where the hard questions can be asked, challenging situations can be overcome and success can be shared. Where both sides raise the other’s game and work hard together to achieve the goals and KPIs, whatever they may be.
But while every relationship encounters bumps in the road, how do you know if it is time to leave your current agency and seek pastures new?
Here are our top 10 signs that you need a new ecommerce agency.
1. Too slow
One thing we hear time and time again from prospective clients is that their current agency is too slow. Work takes too long to complete or they don’t get through enough to fulfil their retainer hours
2. They don’t prioritise correctly
Things crop up at the last minute. Bugs, server issues or seasonal events. Whatever it is, your agency isn’t agile enough to reprioritise quickly and focus on the work that needs doing first
3. Poor communication
A classic issue. Communication either is slow to come, not in the format that you require, irregular or vague. If you feel like you’re constantly chasing your agency for answers, feedback, to fix urgent issues or to get your hands on results then it’s time to move on
4. They’re too small to handle your growth
It happens. They’re a great agency, and you’ve been with them for a long time. In the beginning you were attracted to the boutique feel and personal touch. They’ve taken you from zero to the prosperous company that you’ve become today, but now the cracks are starting to show. Though you’re reluctant to leave them, they simply don’t have the resources – the team, the tech, the time, the knowhow – to continue helping you to grow.
5. They c**k up
This also happens. And one or two mistakes can be forgiven (assuming that the damage was minor). But repeated c**k ups, especially if the same mistake is made time and time again, means it is time to look elsewhere. Carelessness, poor attention to detail, or lack of knowhow show a mismatch in terms of your expectations and their ability, and will only worsen with time.
6. Results are poor
Another obvious sign that you should begin to look for a new agency: poor results. Of course it always takes time – longer than you will probably want to wait – for changes to your site to have a dramatic impact. But if results are consistently poor for months on end, and show no sign of coming around despite your agency’s best efforts, then sometimes it is best to cut your losses before you lose any further time or budget.
7. Lack of transparency
Similar to poor communication, some agencies can fall into the trap of giving you a fluffy, top level overview of their work, and avoid going into the details. And if they’re unable to provide more information when you ask, this should raise alarm bells. Either they don’t keep an accurate record of their work, or there is something odd going on behind the scenes that they don’t want you to know about. Either way, transparency is vital for trust and without trust the relationship will eventually break down.
8. Deadlines are missed
In the world of web development, your project will undoubtedly encounter hiccups along the way that will delay the original deadline. While this is normal, your agency should be able to accurately manage your expectations and set realistic deadlines. Those that promise rapid results are appealing, but must be approached with caution.
If your agency repeatedly misses deadlines that you set or they set for themselves, this is a symptom of poor project management at their end. Get out when you can.
Note: if you set a deadline that your agency knows it won’t meet, they should tell you this from the outset rather than ‘wing it’. Being honest and realistic with deadlines is a sign of a healthy working relationship.
9. Tech is outdated
Ever look at your competitors and think, ‘Why doesn’t my site look/act/do like that?’. It so, your agency is behind the times in terms of tech. Ecommerce is a whirlwind of innovation and development, and your agency should be at the forefront of tech to keep you up to speed.
10. They’re on the backfoot
Being proactive, looking for ways to support your business growth and bringing innovative ideas to the table is the hallmark of a fantastic ecommerce agency. If your current agency waits for you to suggest ideas, then you’re missing out.
Let your agency know you expect more, or find one that will take the lead and accelerate your retail performance.
How to pick the right agency
Every agency wants their next client to be ‘the one’, the one that goes the distance, that they will partner with for years, that they will watch grow and you will both bask in your mutual success.
If the issues raised in this blog post feel familiar, the best way to start the relationship with your next agency is to be incredibly clear, open and honest about your expectations and objectives from the start. These should relate to your business goals, but also to your personal working style.
The best agency will become an extension of your internal team. If you’re interested to find out more about Fluid Commerce and how we work with our clients, get in touch here or check out our About Us section.