The impact of always-on client-agency relationships

Posted 16th December 2020

Our data reveals that always-on relationships between client and agency do not necessarily translate into improved satisfaction scores. Also that;

  • More frequent contact between clients and agencies in the second half of 2020
  • Working from home and lockdown could be creating temptation to be always accessible, with employees reporting they are working longer hours
  • Quality of interactions is more important than quantity

Agencies and clients are contacting one another more frequently since lockdown as revealed from Aprais data.

But there is no evidence that checking in on a more frequent basis improves the quality of the relationship between client and agency.

In fact, the pressure of always-on client-agency relationships could be detrimental to overall wellbeing as 80 per cent of Brits report working from home has been bad for their mental health according to data from Nuffield Health.

Client contact with agencies

Figures from Aprais’ database of more than 22,000 agency-client evaluations show that in the first half of 2020, 36 per cent of clients contacted their agencies just one to three times per month.

Always-on client-agency relationships

43 percent checked in one to three times a week, and just 20 percent touched base every day.

In the second half of 2020 however, 34 percent of clients contacted their agencies every day, with 47 per cent checking in one to three times a week. The percentage touching base just one to three times a month dropped to 19.

Agency contact with clients

The same trend is evident of agencies contacting their clients. In the first half of 2020, 31 percent of agencies spoke to their clients every day. In the second half this had increased to a whopping 50%.

Always-on client-agency relationships

37 percent checked in one to three times a week, and just 13 percent touched base every day.

Does the effort translate into reward?

While there are advantages to agencies and clients checking in with one another, including improved Resilience as highlighted in an Aprais report earlier this year, it would seem that it is the quality, not the quantity, of contact that is important.

Perhaps the more interesting finding is that while online tools have made us all more accessible and available, our data suggests that an ‘always-on’ culture doesn’t seem to translate into improved client-agency relationship scores.

Kim Walker, Chairman Aprais
The risks of being ‘Always On’

Always-on client-agency relationships could even be leading to a culture of round-the-clock availability and the pressure of being always-on can lead to fatigue and burnout.

The Nuffield Health study mentioned above and many other similar studies highlight the potential risks of an ‘always-on’ culture. Data from NordVPN Teams found employees are working at least two more hours a day since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The NHS guidance on working from home recommends setting and sticking to a routine, taking regular breaks and switching off at the end of the working day.

Actions speak louder than words

In line with this guidance, Aprais has required all staff to take an online course to help staff adapt to the pressures of working from home.

Other recommendations include adding lunch hours to their work diaries and incorporating scheduled 15-minute breaks. Staff are also advised not to access emails at weekends or late at night.

A short video explanation