What clients want from an agency

Creative agencies, software developers, lawyers, accountants, builders… There are many differences between those services, but there are also similarities that lead to a good, or bad, client experience.
Gillian Laging
4 Minutes

During the client/agency contract negotiation (especially if it’s the first), the relationship stretches promisingly into the future. Targets set and promises to be met. Sometimes those contracts are entered with trepidation, the ‘what if’ emotional baggage from previous engagements gone awry.  

Everyone is hoping for a good outcome. This is true for agencies signing on clients, and clients outsourcing to agencies. 

We’ve shared a lot about how Scopey solves some major problems for agencies and other service-based businesses. But what about the other side? The client side?

My co-founder Jenna and I are two sides of the same coin. Jenna has owned a creative agency for 9 years, while I’ve worked predominantly client side. And our experiences are testament to the fact that you can’t just boil down a poor experience to a ‘bad agency’ or a ‘bad client’. (Although we don’t deny there are times that occur too).

Scopey has been designed to help get the best outcomes for all parties.

I’ve worked for small and large companies on the client side for 15+ years. With some agency experience for good measure.

Beyond creative agencies, I’ve engaged lawyers, accountants, builders… the list goes on. And, while there’s a lot of difference between those services, there are also similarities that lead to a good, or bad, experience. 

You’re the expert, so make recommendations and back yourself up.

I’ve had a lot of experiences where I’m left wondering why I don’t do it myself. The obvious reason is that my time is better spent on the areas where I can have the most impact, so outsourcing makes sense. But, I’ve often found myself in situations where a company I’m engaging with is taking orders but not adding value. They’ll ask me what I want, but make no attempt to scratch the surface to understand the problems I’m trying to solve first. The best experiences I’ve had is where the business really demonstrates the value of their expertise.

Ghosts should stick to halloween, and a CRM will cost you less than a lost customer.

To be fair, I’ve been ghosted as a client and I’ve also been ghosted by clients. It feels like Tinder culture is creeping into business culture. Sometimes dodging calls and emails seems like the easier way out if a milestone hasn’t been met, or, maybe you plan to take care of it then respond… but something comes up. Whatever the reason, the problem never gets smaller. But with my recent agency experience, I have another perspective – and that is how easy it can be to lose track of an email or message because of the sheer volume that is coming through. Nonetheless, bad communication is a relationship killer.

If it’s a drag to provide updates, use a collaborative tool like Scopey or Trello

Similar to the above, it’s all about communication. I might be one of the primary client contacts, but that doesn’t mean you’ve only got to impress me. The rest of my company doesn’t have a relationship with you, so you’ve got to help me prove you’re doing a good job. If a milestone is unlikely to be met, give me forewarning. I can manage relationships in my workplace, but not if my answer is ‘I don’t know’. If I feel like we’re in this together, I’m more likely to stick around.

As a client, I’m willing to pay for a good service but there has to be follow-through. That starts with making clear and achievable recommendations, then communicating early if something looks like it won’t hit the mark. 


I’ve worked with Jenna for many years and when she shared the problem she was solving for creative services businesses, I immediately saw how that solution isn’t a one-way street. By taking into account challenges of both agencies and clients, we have the opportunity to build a new, more productive way to work together. 

That more productive way of working together is called Scopey.