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PR agency client satisfaction ratings

Well done PR agencies! Nearly all clients (92%) are happy with the services provided by their PR agencies, which represents a 10% rise in client satisfaction ratings compared with last year, according to a recent survey conducted by research agency Question and Retain (Q&R).  

More good news

Further good news is that around two-thirds of clients (63%) are very likely to recommend their agencies to others, up from 57% last year.  

The bad news

Looking at how some agencies are failing, the results show that one in ten clients rate strategic counsel as average or quite poor, showing that if agencies really want to delight their clients, they mustn’t be afraid to share their expertise and offer solid advice.

Looking at the clients that are unlikely to recommend their agency, the top three reasons given are:

  1. high staff churn with poor communication before, during and after the changes on their account team
  2. poor understanding of the client business and its objectives
  3. lack of proactivity.

All three reasons come down to failing to appreciate the client’s needs and also failing to communicate with the client, which are basic skills demanded of any PR agency. Luckily, such failings are rare, as most agencies spend time nurturing their client relationships, and most importantly, listen to their clients.

Structured feedback

Discussing how his agency listens, Andy West, group chief development officer at PR agency Hotwire, says: “Getting structured feedback through a trusted independent third party plays an incredibly important role in the way we manage our client-agency relationships. Every year we do it, we not only celebrate great results, but we actually open new opportunities and in rare instances, save relationships. It’s appreciated by our clients and forms the basis for our forward account planning across the agency.”

Dare to be brave in 2019

As last year, a key message from the research is that it is good to listen, but this is not enough on its own. It is also important to offer expert advice, even when it hasn’t necessarily been asked for.


Question and Retain (Q&R) surveyed around 2,500 clients of UK-based PR agencies.

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