Dealing with Slow-Moving Clients: Agency Leaders Offer Advice

7 months ago

How do you manage slow-moving clients and project pushbacks whilst keeping strong relationships?

In today’s fast-paced business world, time management – especially when sticking to project timelines- is crucial.

But a number of leaders in the agency world are struggling with the same problem; slow-moving clients. This can happen for a number reasons, from personal holidays, to other projects taking more time or simply because they are unprepared, but expecting an agency to push back on timelines can cause headaches.

These delays can lead to project overlaps, lost billable time or pose challenges for staff and outside providers. But how do you deal with slow clients without damaging the relationship?

To often they are commissioning work and saying yes to timescales they can’t actually deliver on and it’s clearly forcing them to stop, think and be more realistic

Agency leaders recently took to an exclusive Agency Hackers community on the online platform, Guild, to discuss the best ways to navigate this issue. An industry professional shared:

  • “These are cases where the client is either not ready in time, or during a project. Perhaps it’s about starting the next task or is looking to push something further back because they have holidays booked, or they are tied up with another project, etc.
  • “Obviously, client relationships are important but at the same time, lost time in a project means that overlaps with other projects or lost billable time for other projects. What have you done or considered to manage, or deter this issue?”

One person shared that a solution to deter clients from stretching deadlines is to firmly amend the fine print of any work agreements. They said:

  • “We’ve just amended our small print on our scope of work to deal with this exact problem. So far it’s stopped clients committing to projects and time frames they can’t stick too, which is a good outcome.
  • “To often they are commissioning work and saying yes to timescales they can’t actually deliver on and it’s clearly forcing them to stop, think and be more realistic.”

They also added that the small print says they are liable for 50% of the fee for cancelled of moved production days. And after some questioning from the original poster about why they opted for 50% rather then getting 100%, as the day could have been sold to another client they explained: “We’re simply using it as a deterrent so 50% seemed reasonable enough if we really needed it but not to high to put someone off.”

What do you think about these solutions to deter slow-movers?

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