Rapid Xtra Nigeria’s General Manager Chike Oputa views the decreasing levels of client-agency trust as an opportunity.
Clients engage agencies they trust. The trust that exists in a doctor-patient relationship is the kind of trust that can drive business performance.
A recent Harvard Business Review article, The Trust Crisis, observed that in the quest for sustainable client relationships, businesses spend time and money investing in peripheral tools and endeavours but have neglected the key ingredient of a sustainable relationship: trust.
Trust is earned. It is a product of strong collaboration, honest engagement, objective feedback, continuous improvement and transparent practices which result in deep, meaningful client and agency relationships. For a low-trust industry like ours, it is a competitive advantage.
Establishing a culture in which all employees understand that our own self-interest and the interests of our organisation are similar and aligned with the interests of our clients, is a strategic imperative. This may sound self-evident, but many organisational cultures – whether purposely or inadvertently – encourage transactional behaviour.
According to the ID Comms 2018 Global Media Transparency Report, 40 per cent of the survey respondents (from marketing, media and procurement) rated their client-agency trust level as low, compared to 29 per cent of those surveyed in 2016.
If clients don’t trust us to do the right thing for their organisation, we cannot have a long term relationship which will ultimately lead to long term success.
Benefits and building blocks of trust
We build trust in our daily routine interactions with clients by:
1. Showing a deep understanding and passion for their business;
2. Developing solutions that add real value to their business;
3. Consistently delivering on our promises; and
4. Going to great lengths to rectify situations when we fall short.
The benefits of building trust include:
1. Long-term contracts and extensions without pitches;
2. Increase in client spend;
3. Competitive remuneration for services;
4. Cross-sell opportunities; and
5. New business opportunities and referrals.
Growing our trust index
At Rapid Xtra, we view this low trust industry rating as an opportunity. That’s why, in collaboration with other Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) media brands in Nigeria, we are implementing systems and processes to increase trust levels across our key client portfolios.
It is still early days, but we are already seeing a marked improvement in the following areas:
1. C-level access and engagement
2. Cross-sell opportunities for sister agencies like Isobar
3. Improvement in TRR scores and agency appraisals
4. Increase in spend
As competing agency networks in Nigeria make more investments in MarTech (software used by marketers to plan, execute, and measure marketing campaigns), streamline their operations to drive efficiencies and aggressively cut costs to compete, we are building sustainability in our business by growing our ‘trust index’ with the strategic aim of driving long term relationship, cross-sell opportunities and new business referrals.