An agency owner reached out for help. She had struggled to deliver results for one of her clients, and the client was now talking to another agency. Worse, her client wanted to get her work audited by the competitor—they asked the other agency to review what my client’s agency had done!
I’ve been in two similar situations as an agency PM. It’s a terrible feeling—as if you’re getting audited by the government. On top of that, it’s hard to justify billing for the time you need to invest to support the audit, which can become endless.
In both situations, the other agency confirmed my agency had done the right thing. I felt vindicated, but the two client relationships were ultimately broken. When there’s so little trust, even the assurance that “they did the right thing” isn’t enough to restore the relationship to where it once was.
What to do when a client asks for an audit
Clients traditionally will do an “agency review” when they want to hire a new agency. But a mid-engagement audit is worse—your client hasn’t directly said they’re going to fire you, but things are heading in that direction. You may feel powerless.
Find out their underlying concern
Take a step back and find out; what is the larger concern your client seems to have? Why have they stopped seeing you as the Trusted Advisor?