Agency-Client Relationship Part II

The Customer Side of The Street

Part II of II – the customer side of the street

Solving the myriad challenges faced by trucking companies today requires near Herculean effort. Or so it often seems. Plenty of solutions--both cutting edge and traditional--abound for any type of business obstacle but knowing which to use, how much to invest, and how to best implement them can be daunting. For that reason, many carriers enlist the expertise of advertising agencies. Does that result in instant success and a dissolvement of all challenges? Not exactly, but companies can get close (at least) with the right dedication. However, the best client-agency relationships require commitment from both sides. It is a two-way street.

We talked about what an agency can reasonably be expected to bring to the table (if you missed it, check that article out HERE). Now, what about the client? What should a trucking carrier expect to do to help their agency tackle challenges and aid in success?

Ongoing, open and forthright communication is the number one thing that a carrier must have with its agency. This, per Becky Bozarth, Vice-president of Trish Groves Agency, a boutique-style agency specializing in the trucking industry. She explains: “Our goal is to stay ahead of the game at all times. We want to anticipate each next step and to support our clients’ needs before they become critical. To do this, we must have strong, open communication with each client. Tell us the good, bad and ugly.”

Makes sense. After all, how can an agency truly help solve problems if they aren’t aware the extent to which they exist? More than that, what is the severity of those issues (be it safety, recruiting, dispatching or others) and what has the carrier already done to try and overcome those?

Plus, needs are ever-changing for carriers. For example, an owner-operator deficit may be gone in three weeks but what if your teams numbers fall under goal? When working with an agency, it’s important to keep them in the loop as soon as there is an obstacle in need of tackling.

What information is it most critical for a client to be forthright about? Trish Groves, President and Founder of Trish Groves Agency, doesn’t hesitate: “In the trucking world, a carrier’s biggest challenge is often recruiting. We have clients come to us because they are struggling and what they have been doing is not working. We are here to help and can discuss many ways to make positive changes, but we’ll also be straightforward about setting realistic expectations. First, we need to know what their current recruiting situation truly looks like. What is their goal, budget, open truck count, turnover, struggles, weekly orientation numbers, and top selling points at the current time?

“This may be information a carrier is not proud to relay,” says Groves, “but an honest dialogue about where they are currently will allow us to get them going in the right direction sooner than later.”

Building a strong foundation with an advertising agency should consist of open conversations about capabilities, limitations, challenges, strengths and needs from both sides of the relationship. Make sure that the agency you choose has the time and the dedication to deliver the level of commitment your company deserves. There are agencies with expertise large and small, but how hands on and personal do you prefer your agency to be? Want one that takes your call regardless of the time and if it’s the first call or the fifteenth of the day? One that wants to learn not only the big issues but the day to day small ones as well, believing that a company’s performance depends on success at all levels? A boutique style agency such as Trish Groves Agency sets itself apart by offering all of that and more due to an exclusive, limited list of clients.

“Before we accept a new client, we take the time to evaluate their needs and goals against the agency’s current commitments to ensure we can deliver the level of attention they deserve,” says Bozarth. “We believe in giving that level of service before we have even taken on a client. Because of the structure of our agency, we are able to do that.”

If you are thinking about working with an advertising agency (or migrating to a new one), consider what you will need to contribute to that business relationship to attain the success you seek. Be an open book about where you are and where you want to go, choose the kind of agency that meets your needs, and, together, you can get there.

Trish Groves Agency: (501) 529-4670 ~