When looking at over-servicing it is very easy to only consider the consequences for the agency in terms of financial loss but in reality, over-servicing has an even bigger impact on your most valuable assets – your staff. As a result of over-servicing, staff can inevitably feel over-worked, under-valued and stressed, all of which result in a reduction of productivity and even absenteeism.
A recent report by PR Week and Deltek found that seven percent of billable time is not collected which has resulted in a culture of over-servicing permeating through the industry. While there is no single cause and often accountability runs throughout the agency, it is an issue that needs resolving in order to ensure agency profitability and more importantly, improve staff wellbeing.
Staff that are over-stretched, under resourced and constantly playing catch up can suffer from stress related issues. It was reported that of the employees feeling stressed at work,
- 80 percent found it difficult to concentrate,
- 62 percent took longer to complete tasks and
- 57 percent found it harder to juggle multiple tasks.
In addition, 50 percent were potentially less patient with customers or clients and 37 percent stated they were more likely to get into conflict with colleagues.
The PR Week report identified that just as over-servicing pushes staff beyond their limits, it also pushes resources beyond their intended remit. This in turn can compromise the reputation of the agency, quality of work and a team’s ability to meet deadlines.
So what can agencies and management teams do to combat over-servicing and protect their best assets?
Over-servicing is often a direct result of untidy processes so management teams need to take the lead when it comes to implementing clear processes and guidelines that are driven by commercial outcomes. This is not to rule with an iron fist, but rather encourage staff to do their bit to reduce over-service and challenge misconceptions around time management and agency life.
Additionally, an agency management system can be deployed to help teams proactively manage client relationships, track over and under servicing at a granular level, and allow visibility across the entire agency to ensure clients are satisfied and jobs are delivered seamlessly.
Staff are the biggest asset of any PR agency and it essential they are looked after in order for the agency to be profitable and successful. A strong leadership team combined with an effective technology solution means that agencies can reduce the overburden and develop consistency of execution in order to escape the over-servicing cycle.
If you want to learn more about the effects of over-servicing and how you can prevent it in your Agency, download this report by PR Week and Deltek: How To Escape The Cycle Of Over-Servicing.