#1 Reason Clients Leave Agencies

By Stephani Fitzsimmons
Director of Content and Communications
Jan 8 2022 read

You’ve built your business, you've been bringing in work, you have a good group of clients - but now they’re leaving. Why?

Client turnover is inevitable in business. Still, that doesn’t mean that you should passively sit back as clients jump ship. Client turnover means money out the door, so if you care to protect your bottom line, it’s in your best interest to maintain client relationships as long as possible. The way to do this is by understanding why clients leave and proactively addressing those issues. So what is the number one reason that clients leave agencies? It’s simpler than you think.

You Failed.

This is a harsh but honest reality - you failed to show your value. Don’t fool yourself into believing that clients leave because they found a much better offer somewhere else - for cheaper. There will always be competition, there will always be big promises by other agencies - that’s not why clients leave. Clients leave because they’re unhappy or underwhelmed. The investment that they made in your services is not panning out or proving worthwhile to them. As shortcomings grow and frustrations mount, any loyalty to you or your agency erodes - especially if you’re failing to deliver on their asks and in a timely manner.  

There are ways for you to prevent this, take back control and stop clients from leaving, ways to undeniably prove your value and retain your clients' loyalty. 

How to Stop Clients From Leaving Your Agency

When you first engage a client, there's a honeymoon period, both sides are excited and optimistic about this new partnership. You start right out of the gate with some quick wins, tackling low-hanging fruit, showing that you can deliver as promised - you’ve got a rockstar team giving their undivided attention to this exciting new project.

After a while, you get into a rhythm, you now understand the client’s business and you’re going through the motions. The account is running without constant maintenance —that’s a good thing right? Not necessarily. Like any relationship, things cool. Then at some point, the client will start to question if their needs are being met, or even more common, a new person joins the business and starts evaluating everything - is your agency overcharging? How have you helped the business reach its goals? What have you achieved since the agreement started and how dedicated are you to this account? 

Your first line of defense is having all information about the account and your history together at your fingertips. Be ready to prove your value and all the work that your agency has put in. 

Be Very Organized

Your small to medium-sized agency has a lot to maintain while also constantly looking for ways to make more money, take on more business and larger accounts. Through all of this you need to stay organized - it’s vital and will serve you in the long run. The easiest and most efficient way to manage your clients and projects is to have a client work management system in place. 

When you need to reference client work or check project status, you can easily view all communications and activities across your team, even with contractors and freelancers, in one place. Having an accurate paper trail is huge when it comes to proving worth to clients. For anyone that has had to dig through inboxes, reference messages across Slack or texts, chase down team members to verify information - get a system that does it for you. It’s necessary at this point. 

Offer Visibility and Transparency

Show your clients that you're working hard on their behalf by providing visibility into the work that you have done, offering up the amount of time and resources that you have dedicated to them. Go beyond talk, give hard numbers or better yet, visuals so the client can see for themselves all your hard work. Doing so makes it undeniable that you are dedicated to their account and actively serving them. Having that validation is key to keeping clients in the fold. 

A vital component to providing these insights is making sure that you and your team are tracking EVERYTHING. Although it may seem inconsequential, failing to log any time spent on an account, even as trivial as sending a quick email, is leading to inaccurate time and resource tracking. Again, get a system in place to handle this for you - you and your team most likely don’t have time to do this manually, and therefore won’t. 

Accelo is the only cloud-based client work management platform designed specifically for agencies, bringing the organization and real-time visibility that you need. You can even give clients access to select information on their account, making it easier for them to see how things are progressing and provide a greater sense of trust. 

READ NEXT: The Best Agency Management Software — Reviews and Rollout Tips

Why Accelo Works for Agencies

Accelo centralizes every aspect of agency work, everything from creating proposals and invoices to complete project management, reporting and retainer work. You and your client can track exactly what's going on, see where efforts are being made and what needs to be done next. Even better - having all client work data centralized also allows you to make realistic profit forecasts which is huge when it comes to profitability. 

Accelo offers clean, straightforward graphics and visuals that let you see exactly what everyone on your team is working on and where they are in the process. It can track how many hours are being allocated to every project, letting your clients know how hard you're working for them, and also helping you see who in your team is under or overworked, thereby improving team morale.

Accelo can help your agency: 

  • Foster long-time client relationships
  • Develop new clients
  • Stay abreast of the market's current demands
  • Focus resources on your most profitable work and clients

Put information at your fingertips so you can respond to most clients' questions quickly and in detail. Clients may even have fewer questions to ask, given the additional certainty and access they'll have to project status. Clients and agencies can communicate in real-time and see the big picture of a project's status. 

Accelo also integrates seamlessly with other popular critical business applications, providing a central hub for your business insights. Having all your useful data in one place allows for much easier and more successful planning and management. You can make accurate future profit projections based on your client work history and financials. 

Accelo’s Agency Work 

Accelo was created to help small to medium-sized agencies succeed. You can read about some real-world successes here. Accelo knows it can be hard for staff at a small business to do all the work they need to do — while staying on top of accounts, billing, and reporting. Accelo is used and loved by thousands of business professionals around the world for the way it streamlines every part of the process, from sales and quotes to timesheets, billing, and scheduling. Across the board, using Accelo has proven to boost businesses' annual revenue and savings, while increasing the number of businesses' billable hours. It makes agency-client retention one less thing you have to worry about.

And that's good for businesses that use Accelo and their clients, alike. Accelo users appreciate saving time and freeing up bandwidth as a result of having a specialized platform. Easily generating reports and tracking milestones allow teams to stay on top of their progress. Clients feel more confident and reassured, feeling like they are part of the process, too, having visibility into what their hired agency is doing.

Next Steps: Start Boosting Client Retention Now

No better time than now to begin improving your client retention. Start a free trial of Accelo and see how the platform works. The trial is free with no credit card required and gives you full access to the features and functionality. Exploring how you can better your client work management will allow you to see how investing in a tool like Accelo can help not only client retention but profitability.


About the Author


Stephani is Director of Content and Communications at Accelo where she oversees content ideation and development. She has worked in and around B2B technology for most of her career and loves helping businesses be more productive, connected and efficient through new technologies. A veteran writer and content creator, Stephani's work has appeared in InformationWeek, Security Magazine, TechRadar and The Fast Mode.

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