Get and keep clients with agency’s culture
Author: Cung Thi Ngan Anh – s3372987
According to Po-Chedley (2011), there are many factors can influence to client – agency relationship e.g. trust, ability to manage commitment, quality of services, loyalty, communication skills etc. However, little of us are aware of how organizational culture of agency can also have impact on the very first two steps of this relationship: acquiring and retaining the clients. An agency with creative and unique culture can make itself stand out from the other and become the chosen one. Also, it’s really essential to adapt an appropriate culture for your agency in a young Asian market like Vietnam.
Ms. Lam Thien Ngan, a co-founder of “Spring – event and wedding inspirer” founded in September 2012, shares her experience on how the unique culture of Spring helps her to impress the clients and persuade clients to comeback with them next time. At the very beginning, Spring is only a small wedding agency founded by a group of friends who have the same interest as bringing happiness and joy to the marriage couples. After that, they expanded the scale of Spring and run other events for some Non-government organizations in and outside of Vietnam. The agency motives by passionate mindset and friendly environment in working to bring the most comfortable feeling to their members as well as customers/clients. Previously, Ngan has been worked as an account executive at DDB Vietnam as well as worked as a freelance event planner. Therefore, she has quite a lot experiences in working with different types of clients in creative industry from big to small scale. From what Ms. Ngan shared, there are two main things in Spring’s culture that build credibility for the agency and help Spring impress new clients as also remain existing relationship.
1. Be the one client needs. Be their friend.
That statement reveals how Spring works. Different from normal event agency, the members of Spring don’t call themselves event planners. Instead, in Spring’s language, each of them is called a “happiness inspirer”. The “happiness inspirers” work as inspiration assistant for their clients in brainstorming process and create personalized events based on clients’ desire instead of working independently from clients. To make this happen, the inspirers usually hang out and meet each other in cozy places. They have fun together and talk about their personal life and characteristics besides talking about work. According to Eisenstadt (1984), building relationship as friends is one of the necessary things to deal with Asian clients. Due to the comfortable atmosphere that Spring brings in work, most of clients working with Spring are really young, energetic, innovative and want to create a unique pattern for their own event.
2. Extra services always makes client happy
Spring’s members love to give more. They love to create unexpected happiness through their services as a special treatment for their clients. For example, in any events, Spring always offers something out of contract without any other charges e.g. gifts for each attendees, extra decorations for cupcakes, different surprised gift for each bride, groom and family. Different offers will be personalized for different events to bring the most delightful feeling to their clients. Apart from being a culture, providing extra services for your clients also conveys that you care about the client and the work between both sides (Ewalt & Ewalt, 2008). Small unexpected offers can also surprise and satisfy your clients.
However, Ms. Ngan also admits that there’s some challenges rising with having a particular culture for the agency. With this culture, the agency can only work with people having the same vision and same working style. It limits the range of their clients and mostly fit with young and modern people. Yet, as the evolving of creative industry in Vietnam, it’s undeniable that agency’s culture should be shaped to leave a remarkable impression for client in this growing market.
Eisenstadt, S N, 1984, “Patrons, clients and friends: Interpersonal relations and the structure of trust in society”, Cambridge University Press.
Ewalt, H W, & Ewalt, A W, 2008, Through the client’s eyes: new approaches to get clients to hire you again and again, American Bar Association.
Po-Chedley, D A 2001, Client Relationship Management: Using Relationship Management and Project Service Excellence to Create a Competitive Advantage, Human Resource Development.