One of the largest telecommunications clients in Malaysia dismissed an agency, ostensibly because they were late for a big meeting one time too often. But there was clearly more to it than that.
What was done
An operational audit of how the engagement stacked up against other clients, and a talent audit involving face to face interviews with 17 agency staff and 8 client staff in Kuala Lumpur.
Culture clash – the agency was striving for absolute top strategic and creative quality in all cases while client demanded speed at acceptable quality levels in most cases
Agency hiring decisions were also predicated on hiring thinkers vs. doers
As a result the agency was seen as slow, unresponsive and arrogant by the clients
One particular client department was dysfunctional to the point of nastiness
Client briefs were highly inadequate in most cases
Rebalanced the team with more emphasis on the day to day delivery skillsets the business actually required (NB without a reduction in headcount.)
Implemented proper work-streaming; fast turnaround work could now be handled in a streamlined way by a team with the right skills
The dismissal was rescinded and the agency retained the business for another five years before the next mandated pitch
The account became the assignment agency people wanted to work on vs. the one nobody wanted to touch with a bargepole