How can agencies truly retain clients?

We’re all told that retaining current clients is considerably cheaper and less time consuming than winning new ones. Oksana Koval, director of operations and projects at SSG Create discusses.

In fact, businesses have a 60 to 70 per cent greater chance of selling to an existing client, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only five to 20 per cent*. Compelling stats.

But of course in the days of procurement departments and annual agency reviews, retention is often easier said than done.

So, how do you build your client’s trust? What makes an agency truly indispensible? It’s certainly more than merely delivering great work. 

Whilst there isn’t a guaranteed recipe for success, there are some easy to implement tactics that can help an agency to keep current clients happy. I believe in the four C’s: Communication, Collaboration, Consistency and Creativity.


It’s not rocket science, but clear, open and regular communication both internally and externally is everything, when it comes to retaining clients.

With clients, this means taking or often writing a detailed project brief.  Are the objectives clear and agreed? What are the deliverables? How will the client measure these? What impact will your work have on the business?

Key to this, is managing the client’s expectations. What can your agency truly deliver for the budget and in the allocated time? Surprises are never a good thing, for either the client or agency.

From an internal perspective, ensuring you have the right team, with the right skills to deliver the projects is crucial. Clarity of roles, expectations and deadlines will go a long way to keeping both your staff and clients happy. 


You’re a team. It’s clichéd, but true. Working closely with your client, not reacting to the. This helps to build trust and allows us to provide a better service. A process that the client buys into from the outset means the result will be the best it can be – and crucially not a surprise to anyone! Going ‘above and beyond’ is something that should feel automatic and is the measure of a truly great partnership. 

Building relationships with multiple stakeholders is also crucial, particularly given the increasing pressure of procurement and finance. Everyone has significance within an organisation and those that are appreciate what we do will remain strong advocates within or outwith that business.


From the person that answers the phone to the Managing Director, professionalism is key. This consistent level of client servicing is non-negotiable throughout the team and throughout all projects. This will help to ensure your agency is front of mind, when new projects arise.


This may seem obvious, but maintaining fresh, creative ideas can be a challenge, particularly if you have worked with the same brand for a significant period of time. It’s imperative to keep on top of new trends, technologies and innovations. Keep surprising your client, whether it’s project related ideas or new ways of reporting, staying ahead of your competitors is key.

Implementing small changes to your business and the way you manage your clients can reap huge rewards. Client retention shouldn’t be complicated. Open, honest communication, a collaborative approach, consistently good service and continued creativity - will go a long way to keeping your clients not only happy but retained for longer.

*Marketing Metrics

Any comments? Email Annie Byrne