Agency Journey

The process of implementing an NPS strategy for agencies can be a bit overwhelming - but worry no more! because in this episode of Agency Journey Gray MacKenzie and Amber Mackay are going to discuss the key steps that you need to follow to implement an effective NPS strategy for your agency's success! Make sure to watch until the end of the video because you don't want to miss any important information to succeed in implementing NPS for your agency.

What is Agency Journey?

Agency Journey is your guide to starting and running your own profitable digital marketing agency. Hosts Andrew Dymski and Gray MacKenzie interview different agency owners and influencers from around the world, who share their stories, the challenges they faced along the way, and the strategies that worked best for them.

All right.

Welcome back to another episode
of Agency Journey this week.

I've got the pleasure of
bringing on a special guest.

I've got Amber McKay, who is the head of

client services at Finley
Agency from across the pond.

Amber, welcome to the podcast.
Thank you.

Thank you very much for having me.

You wrote an awesome blog post recently.

They got my attention.

I think it was like, what is an NPS score?

And why does it matter

which I'll go pull up here in just a
second, but I want to dig into that.

That's one of the reasons that I wanted to

pull you on and kind of dig into
what prompted you to start paying

attention to NPS, how you've
improved it, how you focused on it.

We'll break down all those pieces.

But first, could you just give us a quick

overview of family agency
and your role there?

Yeah, of course.

So finally, Agency is an
inbound marketing agency.

We're based in Canterbury,
in Kent, in the UK.

We specialize in the engineering and
manufacturing industry, and we have a

multidisciplinary team spanning digital
web development, video, graphic design.

And we are also a Platinum HubSpot partner

as well, which runs through
an awful lot of what we do.

My role as head of client services

is essentially to head up
the account management team.

I'm generally responsible for
kind of ongoing client success.

Project success, which means I work really
closely with our management team, our head

of Ops to kind of ensure everything runs
smoothly and that we've got all the

processes in place to consistently get the
best possible results for our clients.

Basically, I am also an account
manager day to day as well.

So I do keep my finger on the pulse, and

I'm heavily kind of involved in the day to
day, which really does help me work really

closely with my team to kind of
make improvements almost every day.

It's busy, but it's good fun, right?

What's the model that you have?

So you've got account managers.

So you're kind of overseeing a team, plus
being on that team of account managers and

are using a pod structure beneath
that or shared resources.

How's the internal team structured

internally, our account managers, they're
kind of more seen as project leads.

So that's actually another interesting
point that we're kind of looking into is

kind of the hybrid between account
management and project management.

I'm not sure necessarily the industry kind

of knows the difference, but we do
an awful lot of product leadership.

We're involved in the strategy, but we are

kind of at the top of
every project that we do.

And then we manage the kind of delivery
teams, but we don't have pods.

We have myself included.

We have three acts, three account
managers, three project leads, and we kind

of deal with all of the
projects that we've got.

We kind of just split out
right in an average week.

Then between your own client, and I assume

you're probably interfacing with
your clients on a weekly basis.


How many calls between your own clients
and you're managing and kind of jumping,

I'm assuming probably occasionally you're
jumping on other people's calls with them.

Or maybe you're not.

But how much are your week
is spent on calls, then?

Goodness me,
to be honest, between internal meetings,

which we keep in touch regularly and
client calls, I'd say a good half of my

week definitely is speaking to clients is
a big part of what we do,

especially my role as kind of making sure
everything is happening as it should do.

I do join calls with my project managers,

but a huge part of what our project
managers do is manage their projects.

We have a lot of power to kind of crack on
and get the best out of our clients, and

we have really good
relationships with them.

So yeah, we do speak to them an awful lot,
depending on the client, depending on the

project, it might be that we
speak to them to them daily.

Sometimes it might only
be weekly, smaller ones.

It might be bi weekly or monthly, but we
are regularly in touch with them, right?

That makes sense.

So let's talk a little bit about NPS.

Then the reason I ask about call
volume is you've got a lot going on.

So I'm assuming that's part of where the
need for NPS, the need for having say, I

need some quantitative measure of how
likely to retain these customers.

Obviously, at the end of the day for

agencies, the metric we're looking at is
on a customer by customer base is kind of

lifetime value, which is your indicator of
how successful are we at retaining

clients, plus up selling them, getting
them on the right services and capturing

the value that we're hopefully
delivering for them.

So NPS is kind of a leading indicator to
that. But when did you decide

what's the prompt for it? And then when
did you decide to start implementing NPS?

The NPS process for us
actually is quite new.

I became head of client services last

year, and this is one of the first things
that I ever really stumped my teeth into.

So we really sort of started running
it at the start of the year.

It wasn't working very well to begin with.

The initial process we had wasn't great.

The update wasn't great, so we changed
that up and that's now a really well

practice process that we
continue to replicate.

It was a goal of mine.

I kind of saw that as a really good way to

start making some improvements
in my Department.

That kind of separated my role
from just project management.

It was kind of a way to
improve my Department.

But having an NPS score as a
metric was kind of just one thing.

It's a really useful benchmark.

You can add it to business reports.

It's something to continually measure on

it gives a bit more of a scientific
view of everything that's going on.

But for me, it's still really
only the first step for us.

It's more asking the NPS question.

But then getting the feedback is actually

really important because we
instantly act on that feedback.

We kind of always we take what our clients

say, and then we make that actionable
and we go and do it straight away.

So it means the improvements are happening

straight away and that
we're constantly learning.

And obviously the improvements we make

means more success internally and
externally with our clients as well, which

hopefully in turn means more
recommendations to work with us.


Well, I guess first thing we should do
here is just break down what it is.

So NPS, I was just stand
for net promoter score.

It's a question everyone's seen a million

times to refer this product or
service to a friend or colleague.

And then from an equation perspective, it
kind of breaks down into these three

different buckets of promoters, which are
your nine s or your tens passives, which

are the sevens or eights, and then
the tractors, which are your six.

You used a word in this post
that first of all, how British?

Second, I had the wrong impression.

You said promoters are chuffed
and loyal brand ambassadors.


I don't know why I thought
chuffed meant the opposite way.

Like, I'm a little bit upset.


Now in British, chuffed means super happy.


This is great to know. So what's a synonym

for chef? Is this just, like, excited or
does it mean something else satisfied?

Like super satisfied? Like really happy.


And then obviously, to get your score,
you're taking your percentage of your

promoters and subtracting the
percentage of the tractor.

So if we just make the math really easy,

if you have ten people respond to this and
you've got six people who give you a nine

or a ten, then you got 60% of
your audience as promoters.

And if you have two people who
are your detractors, that's 20%.

So 60 -20 is 40.

And you've got your score
is of 40 on the NPS route.

You did that much quicker than
I would have been able to.

I actually have a really handy website

that helps you do the
calculations because math.

I've spent more time in NPS
in the last couple of years.


Although I like the tool itself, I think
it's a handy kind of metric that you can

use and can be somewhat
centered across places.

But there's a lot of variables which
we'll get into that are challenging.

So industry average here.

And I think you mentioned in
the post, it's around six.

Retently put out some stuff a couple of
years ago or a year and a half ago.

Maybe the industry average services or
agencies space specifically is like 62,

and that's obviously coming
from it's an NPS tool.

Let's talk a little bit about

some of the technical pieces, and then I
want to get into impact and the strategic

side of what you've built out. So
technically, are you using HubSpot to

measure NPS or what tool are you
using to send and manage NPS service?

So yes, we did.

We did use HubSpot, and we used automated

emails, which meant that people would kind
of drop into workflows depending on their

life cycle stages and any of the specific
kind of categories we put them in.

It wasn't working.

The uptake was not great.
Everyone is busy.

People's inboxes are full anyway,
so to speak.

I am the tool

me with my slide presentation on
the call with my account manager.

We're the ones doing it now.

So it's technically a manual process, but
it's actually not really a process at all.

It's actually a conversation.

So you're actually asking them.

Are you saying that script verbatim
to them a scale of one to ten?


When we change it a little bit, we kind of

use, sort of say, on a scale
of one to ten or not ten.

How likely are you to recommend us or how

much do you love us is sometimes if we're
really close to them, we might change it.

So then they're giving you an answer. Does

that live in a Google spreadsheet? Or
where are you putting that information?

It does live in a spreadsheet.

We have an agency scorecard which covers

all sorts of different metrics that we
report on bi weekly, and it lives in

there, and it gets updated
every couple of weeks.


Makes sense.
And then obviously there follow up

question is,
I assume you're following that up with why

do you give the score that
you give or they go, yeah.

Makes sense.

And then that's where
you're talking about.

We're taking actions.
Then off of what feedback they give.



Makes sense.

How frequently are you asking people?

So we ask all of our retainer
clients at least every quarter.

That means every three months

we have a proper meeting with them, where
we have a shortage presentation, where we

might go over activities
in the last three months.

What's coming up over
the next three months?

What's going?
Well, what's not going so well?

And then we always ask that
question right at the end.

If they are just smaller project clients,

we'll probably tend to ask at the
end of that project on delivery.

That makes sense.

And then in terms of who gets surveyed,
I'm assuming most of the time on client

calls, you've got one point
of contact, maybe two.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

So we ask every client gets asked.

We're in the process of asking everyone as

we go along, but everyone
will at some point be asked.

And it will be the key stakeholders that

deal with their project
lead on an ongoing basis.

So just to say back to you, then if you've

got let's say you're dealing with the
marketing manager at a manufacturer,

but the VP of marketing or owner of the
business, depending on the size of the

business, is the one writing the checks,
but not getting on calls with you.

Are you sending that via email, then are

you calling them directly at some point or
just trying to pull them into a call to

ask that question, like on
a quarterly planning call?

How are you making sure?
I guess that you get the touch point to

maybe impact the decision, but
aren't on the weekly calls with you.


We're actually really
lucky at finding agency.

We work with the clients
that we work with.

In general.

We are always in touch with
the key decision maker.

So we need to speak to the CEO BMDs or as

you say, the people writing the checks,
we are fully in contact with them.

If they're not on the course, we
retain a call for whatever reason.

If they're busy.
Yes, we would always give them a call.

We would speak to them separately.

As I said, the key is to speak to the

people that you are dealing with every day
because they are the ones that can tell

you how well or how well
you're not doing right.

So let's talk about the impact.

First of all, you wrote in here about kind
of your takeaways and experience with NPS.

So what is finally agency's NPS?

So we are currently running at 80.

We have approximately 25 clients that

we're currently working with
on kind of various levels.

That number is probably bigger,
but on different various levels.

And because the process is fairly new, we
are still working our way through a lot of

those and depending on kind of
where they are at their life cycle.

But as I say that everyone gets asked

regularly enough that we are
constantly reporting on that number.

Are you leveraging that?

Do you know,

it seems like that's a number that I would
want to be pointing out NPS internally.

I don't know that we've ever done a huge

public push on it, but we should or we
could, I guess, is another way to say it.

You certainly could as well, obviously,
anytime that you're picking out a metric.

If that's not the industry
accepted metric, it's hard to say.

Well, we're Navy and someone else.

It's all internally reported.

So anybody can say, yeah, we're 98.


But are you all using that in your market?

It's on the blog, which is super cool that
you wrote about it and put yourself out

there. But are you using that
in marketing or sales at all?

Currently, not as a metric?

But that kind of brings you back to the
point of it's not that the metric and the

number itself is only
really the starting point.

So the biggest thing for us
is the feedback and then the positivity or

the structural help that clients
give us when they give us feedback.

So a big one for us is customer

testimonials, and
we have a videographer in house and we do

a lot of video work and a project
that we obviously used to work on.

Post code precovid.

I was heading out and
meeting with our clients.

Now we will be doing that more again.

And the best part of it is that is it
your clients, your biggest selling point.

So for us, the metric
is the starting point.

And then going out to those clients that

we work brilliantly with and getting a
testimonial from them, recording us,

having an interview with them and
discussing our projects and all that stuff

and then reporting on the results
of the projects which we always do.

We post a lot of case studies.

We post a lot of results, reports,
all of that material gathered together

with the metric is just such
a fantastic story to sell.

So you are getting so many different

questions here, but you're three
quarters into running NPS.

Now, as we're recording, this is
the beginning of Q four here.

So do clients know who aren't your clients

or working with a different
account manager know?

Amber's on the call?

I'm going to get asked NPS or How's that
receipt conversation then?

I think they see me on the call.

They think, what have we done wrong now?

I think, because it's part of the
process now our project leads.

We ask the question all the time.

They expect it to come up.

It's not supposed to be
an intimidating question.

It's not supposed to be a question where

they suddenly think, if I'm honest, I'm
going to upset someone or I'm just going

to give them loads of great positive
praise, because that's all we want to do.

It's not supposed to be
a difficult question.

It's supposed to be a
conversation staffer.

It's supposed to open up about.

It's meant to be transparent.

It's meant to help our
communication going forward.

The more we ask our clients kind of

actually, the more they get into it, and
the more that they see that it's helpful.

I think it's always a slightly strange
question to be asked for the first time.

It can put you on the spot.

But I think if you can't answer that

question or if it's an uncomfortable
question that you're asked and you don't

want to say it there, and then
we've got words to do anyway.

So to me, the honesty is
really helpful both ways.

And if you're not honest, everyone's
doing each other a disservice.


Well, I think

there's a couple of things I like about
what you're doing that are really cool,

and they're different from what I
would normally recommend to people.

One is in our NPS set up.

I want to isolate the person that they

have a relationship from from the
person who's asking the question.

I don't want them to have to give me an
answer in front of the person they deal

with on a day to day basis, because
I think that is easy to buy.

You have to make a
decision in that moment.

Do I want to potentially offend somebody

who I'm going to work with
or talk to on a daily basis?

And I have some type of relationship with.

But you've mentioned a couple
of different things here.

One is it's part of your process.

So you mentioned update rate, and what

that normally looks like for agencies
is sending out emails and nobody.

If you introduce that to 25 clients today
who've never had to do that before,

most of the time, they're
just going to ignore that.

So the cool thing about running a services

based business is you get to make
whatever the rules are around.

How what it's like to work with you.

So if you set strong expectations on the
front end for every new client who's

working with us, this is
just part of what you do.

When you work with us.

You pay your monthly bills, you show up to
your calls on time and you have to answer

your NPS survey, and
those are nonnegotiables.

You get to make those and set them up.

And so you've forced that on
people by doing it on a call.

And then the real key is exactly what you
said, which is NPS is a great metric.

It's awesome to put on a scorecard and to

work around and you need
those central points.

But the real magic is not asking
people to survey questions.

The real magic is, what do you
do with the answers from that?

And how do you continue to build and

strengthen those relationships
you mentioned?

We're taking action right away.

So someone tells you, hey, I'm an eight.

They are passive.

The obvious question is what's one thing

we could have done to make
your experience better?

What's the difference?
Why did you not score it lower than that?

Why did you not score it higher than that?
You got all these different follow up

questions. Are there any specific examples
that come to mind of how you've dealt with

that feedback right away to
improve client relationships?

I think largely.


I think communication is a big one.

Sometimes if you're particularly busy

period, communication
can sometimes fall down.

I mean, that's both sides

a lot of the work we do relies
quite heavily on client input.

From an education point of view.

We're working in quite a technical sector.

So a lot of the time we rely heavily on
our clients being able to give us

information and give us answers so that we
can create content or we can create

campaigns that are technically and that
are technically correct to their industry.

So we do rely quite
heavily on their input.

And if our communication isn't strong

enough and we don't make
that clear, from the outset.

Sometimes if things are held up because
we're waiting on things from their side,

that can be quite frustrating
on both sides of it.

So that does come up quite often.

And once we've spoken about it, we said,
how can we make that process easier?

How can we not add to your to do list but
see us as something crucial that you have

to do every other day or
something during the week?

We work with them to make it
as easy as we possibly can.

That makes sense.

I guess a couple of questions.

Is there a point at which let's say you're

talking to an agency,
which you are right now, obviously.

But they're thinking about NPS.

This conversation has been
wondering, should we implement it?

Is there a team that's too small to bother
setting up NPS, or is there a point where

you're like, hey, 25 people
sounded 25 clients sounded right.

Or ten clients would have
been the right place to put.

Is there a right place to put these
tips and metrics in place and systems?

I don't think so.
I don't think so.

I think obviously, the smaller you are,

and we have a handful of
clients that we adore as well.

I should say, obviously, we adore
working with all of our clients.

We love all of our clients, but

we do have a selection of clients
we work with for a long time.

We have really well established

relationships with who would
always score us really highly.

And of course, they feed into
the great score that we do have.

But time and time again,
we do great things.

We will always have the odd thing that we

can improve on and we can do
and we continue to do better.

But if you've only got a small number of
clients and they all love you, it's going

to inflate and you're
going to look fantastic.

But then again, that's
where it comes into.

It is just a metric.

And that's only the starting point.

You should always be asking.

No matter how many clients you have, you

should always be asking
them, how well are we doing?

What can we do better?
That's the biggest part of it.

I think maybe the metric side of things,
you could probably have a limit.

Otherwise you'll be, as I say, inflated

and look and look much
better than you are.

But not necessarily true.

I'm sure people are fantastic,

but yes, I would say
you do need to take that into account.

That makes sense.

And then prep you to go down this road.

But you mentioned something earlier
that always catch my attention.

You mentioned scorecard.
Are you running on the EOS or do you have?


So on that scorecard, then, on a weekly

feel free to share what you're comfortable
sharing or not sure what you're not

comfortable sharing, but what are some of
the other key metrics that you care about

from specifically your role leading
client success at an agency.

What are some of those
metrics that you care about.

Our EOS system?

We have all the team leaders from all
of our delivery teams are in there.

So from a digital point of view, we report

on the number of marketing leads
we've received that month.

I think we do them bi weekly, as
we report on that quite heavily.

My NPS score is in there.

We report on Business one that week,

we report on our financial status, which
is obviously helpful from us internally.

The number of blogs written, the number of

blogs published, that sort of thing
because we put out there quite a lot about

how important education is, and we
do a lot of content for our clients.

We then practice what we preach,
and we do a lot of that as well.

So we report on quite a
wide spectrum of things.

To be honest, just because we have

everybody in our company in our agency
management wise, comes to those meetings

and reports on what their
teams are doing, right?

That's awesome.
So in those blogging numbers, those are

your internal, like the finally
agency content production.

That's awesome.

One of the things I think I was the
challenge would mention really like

lifetime value of clients is one of the
biggest metrics to pay attention to.

The problem is, you don't know the

lifetime value of someone until they're
no longer until their lifetime is value.

So that's what we're really trying to use.

Nps is kind of a proxy for
how likely are we to retain clients

when you get clients who say a
six or lower, they're detractor.

What is in your playbook or what are some
of your go to? What are the things that

you are looking to do to fix? And how do
you know when to draw the line between

saying this relationship is not working?
We're better off moving on from them

versus hey, this is one that we just have
an issue in communication or we haven't

had enough time that expectations are just
off a little bit here, but it's a good

account that we should
still continue working.

It's a really tricky situation.

I have to say, we are lucky that we've
not been in that situation very often.

And to be honest, if you have a detractor

who is not happy, the chances
are you already know about it.

So it's not going to be a surprise when
it comes to that retaining review.

It's not going to be a surprise when you

suddenly have that meeting
to discuss the activities.

You will know that things aren't going
well, and hopefully you would have already

been starting to do things
to make that better.

Whatever is in your power to make
better, you're already doing that.

So that when you're having these regular

meetings, you say, Well, we've tried to do
this, and here's what we've implemented.

And here's how this has helped.

And here's how this hasn't.

And it's a constant iterative process.

But unfortunately,

you do have those clients where
unfortunately, the relationship is

for whatever reason, on
whatever side is not ideal.

We would always
schedule a follow up calls.

I would always say we can take this

offline and you and I can have a
conversation separate from the delivery

teams and really get to get to the bottom
of it and get that feedback through.

And again, a huge part of what we do
is retrospective meetings as well.

So we're always talking about how great
projects are and we go through

retrospectives and we talk about,
yes, we need to do this again.

And yes, this is great.

Let's replicate it.

But you really have to focus
on the negatives as well.

You have to focus on what is not going so

well, whether that's when a client, if
when a client leaves or even if it's just

the end of a project, there's always going
to be things that you could do better.

But I think the main point of

communication and what we really strive to
do is for nothing to ever be a surprise.

We speak to our clients so regularly and

we're in touch regularly
in reporting all the time.

We report monthly that if a problem comes
up, we would have faced it head on, and

it's not seen as something that will
absolutely kill the relationship.

And as I say, we try our best at all times
and we learn and we keep going right.

Let's put the script into the other side.

Your most chuffed, your ten,

your best promoters
are there standard act you mentioned we

care about testimonials and refer,
like getting referrals back in.

That's one of the items
we're running EOS as well.

One of the things that we look out on a
weekly basis outside of NPS is on the

scorecard as well, and
NPS by service line.

But we care about how many of those people
who say they love us are actually doing

what promoters do and promoting us as
well, because it's a huge growth lover.

Are there go to things when someone says

they were attend like, are you going right
into will you leave us a clutch review or

do you have anybody in mind you can make a
recommendation to are there go to things

that you have or is it case by case?
What's the playbook on that side?

I think it's probably case by case and

would largely depend on whether they're
a retainer or a project client with us.

But I think the go to for us would always

be to at least gather a testimonial,
which we would pop on our website.

We're hot on social media.

Linkedin is a big platform that we use
for our clients and for ourselves.

So any testimonials, any client videos

that we do, we'll be
then sharing on social.

They become part of our
marketing Journeys.

And again, we do written case studies on

our websites as well,
where we kind of show.

For example, if it was a rebrand, we'd

show what the client looked like
before and what they look like.

Now we'd then include a testimonial.

If we were lucky to have got a video with
them, we would include that as well.

And I think
our website and our LinkedIn channel is

kind of our biggest push
for that sort of thing.

One of the things I'm going to give a

shout out here to Jeremy Wise, who runs
Rise 25 along with John Corporate.

They run the podcast right now for us.

But one of the things that they do
really well is around social proof.

So Jeremy and I were on a Zoom.

This is like a couple of months ago,

and I was just telling him
it's been a great experience.

And right away he was like, in that

moment, he was like, hey,
we're on Zoom already.

Let's just record it really quickly.

And so it made it super easy.

No extra friction for me to go record a
92nd or two minute long testimonial sniper

here's been my experience
working with them.

And so that opportunity, like, in that
moment, the cool thing about you asking

folks live is you get the opportunity
right then to say, hey, let's schedule

either schedule follow up
right then, or you can get it.

Capture it in that moment.
That makes a ton of sense.

Are you normally lining up?

I assume, especially if you're doing a
longer case study, you're probably lining

up a follow up call off of
that versus recording live.


Our case studies take a little bit of time

to put together because we
write the content around it.

We go back and we pull all the stats and

we do some sort of, like, number crunching
just to kind of really Hone in on where we

were benchmarking and
then where we are now.

But, yeah,
when things are going great, we grab a

testimonial, even if it's literally just
typing away what that person has said.

And then we can make it a testimonial
later, and then they can just approve it.

We put it anywhere.

If it's a case that we want to do, we want

to put them as part of our new customer
testimonial video project that we have.

We tend to put those in, and we actually

tend to do more videoing
with them during those sessions.

So we might capture

campaign footage at the same time
as capturing our own testimony.

So it doesn't feel like they are.

They're just working hard to promote us.

We will then we return the favor when we

do some campaign work, or we have
another meeting when we're there.

And it's just kind of part
of building a relationship.


It feels like a natural
relationship builder, for sure.

That's awesome.

Well, Amber, this has been really fun.

You've given folks a lot to think
about and a lot of helpful feedback.

Just first hand experience
kind of running NPS.

So let's point people
to a couple of places.

One is obviously.

Finally, agency, which we will include
in the show notes, is the agency site?

Is there anywhere else that you'd want to
direct people is the best place to go

connect on LinkedIn, or is there a better
way to reach out and connect with you?

Absolutely no.
Connect with me on LinkedIn.

Connect with the rest of
the final team on LinkedIn.

We have our own.

If you've heard of it, seen or heard of us

promoting the engine room, which is
kind of a webinarpodcast that we do.

That's another great.
You can follow that hashtag on LinkedIn.

Finallyengine, where we give out all sorts

of different
help and advice from social media all the

way through to web and digital
and SEO and that sort of thing.

The resource section on
our website is fantastic.

We're writing blogs all the time, and it's

the people in our agency actually
writing the blogs on their discipline.

So we're regularly posting all
sorts of new things up there.

So, yeah, absolutely.

Find us on LinkedIn and you won't miss us.

We talk on there an awful lot.
That's awesome.

We'll make sure we link up to the engine

room and all of the resources
that you mentioned here.

But, Amber, I appreciate it.

Thanks for making time and
coming on with me today.

No worries.
Thank you very much for having me.

All right.
Just enter the recording.

Amber, you crushed it.
Thank you.