When a client asks to add a new service to their account, it’s usually an easy upsell… unless they’ve requested a service your agency doesn’t currently offer.

That’s when many agency leaders fall into “panic” mode. Not wanting to lose the account, they automatically respond: “Yes, we can do that!”

The problem? They have no idea how they’ll actually fulfill what they promised.

This can lead to client and employee retention problems… and unprofitable work. For instance, that’s how a friend at a digital agency found herself in charge of a client’s office renovation and interior decorating.

As an agency operations leader, I have some advice to help you reduce your stress while increasing your agency’s profits.

Be intentional, not reactive

Ask the client to clarify their underlying business goals, instead of reflexively saying, “Yes.” This helps you understand what they want to accomplish since the service they requested might not be the best solution.

Then you can buy time by saying, “Let me speak with the team; I’ll follow up.” Clients don’t always require an instant answer, but they want to know you’ll get back to them soon.

Look for patterns across clients

When you notice multiple clients asking for a new service, it’s a sign there might be strong market demand. Consider whether other clients and prospects would benefit from the new service. If you see the new service as strategically important to your growth style and your future goals, it may be time to expand your offerings.

Consider delivery model options

Explore what it would take to deliver the work profitably. If you can’t do the work well, be honest about your lack of experience; it’s OK to bow out.

You don’t always have to hire a new employee to add a new service. In fact, a current employee or freelancer might already have the skills to fulfill the new billable service.

If you don’t have an appropriate resource already, you have several options:

  • Refer your client to a trusted partner.
  • Fulfill the work via an outsourced “white label” firm.
  • Hire one or more new employees to do the work.

Learn more

Want to dig deeper into the best services mix for running a profitable agency? I’ll be talking a lot more about this at SMX East next week, in the brand new Agency Operations and Management track.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Karl Sakas helps agency owners increase their profits and reduce their stress by conquering growing pains. As a management consultant and executive coach at Sakas & Company, Karl has personally advised hundreds of agencies on every inhabited continent. He is the author of Made to Lead, The In-Demand Marketing Agency and more than 300 articles on agency management. When he’s not helping agency leaders, Karl volunteers as a bartender on an antique train.


Often referred to as SMS 2.0, rich communication services (RCS) deliver a media-rich, engaging messaging experience. The solution is an advanced form of SMS messaging which allows users to leverage advanced in-message tools. RCS platforms, however, include solutions for group chat, video, high-resolution images and read receipts – most of which are already offered by existing messaging apps.

Why we should care

While consumers may initially be cautious about RCS, brands can’t wait to get their hands on it. Research from OpenMarket and the GSMA find consumers are eager to engage with brands through RCS;  a 2015 study which surveyed 2,015 consumers in the U.S., U.K., Mexico and South Korea revealed that nearly 70% of consumers would be more likely to communicate with brands using RCS.

An RCS promotion by Subway was tested among a set of Subway customers last year. Subway reported a 144% increase in redemption rates for the RCS promotion compared to the same promotion using SMS. If done right, RCS could provide brands with a more meaningful engagement platform.

“Brands need to find a better way to connect with their customers, and RCS messaging is a step in the right direction,” said Bridget Poetker, senior content marketing specialist at G2. “The technology essentially provides a better user experience than SMS messaging in a format that customers are already accustomed to. However, just like all marketing mediums, brands need to find a delicate balance between helpful and hurtful.”

Even with the hype around the new messaging capabilities, tech companies like Apple have shown little interest in adopting RCS messaging for their devices. Without buy-in from Apple, it could be difficult to drive adoption across all mobile users and could result in fractured messaging experiences for consumers.

Less than 9% of mobile networks have adopted RCS messaging — and due to the slow rollout, Google decided to take over and launched RCS in the UK and France with involving other networks. Other European countries are planning their own rollouts through 2020.

More on the news

  • RCS will achieve annual growth of 290%, bringing the annual volume to 56 billion RCS messages by 2023.
  • Seventy-four percent of consumers said it would make them more likely to communicate with a brand.
  • Eighty-percent of consumers find RCS appealing

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