I HATE going to the doctor. H.A.T.E. I.T. Between the hold time to make an appointment, the wait in the waiting room, the wait in the exam room, the discomfort of the imminent poking and prodding and the anxiety of the forthcoming expense that follows – how could someone [who isn’t a sadist] ENJOY this process?
Despite all of the distasteful components, however, I actually enjoyed my most recent visit to the doctor. Let me preface this by saying that all of the unpleasantness I mentioned above took place without fail. No relief on that front. Ugh.
What made it bearable, even enjoyable, was the bedside manner. The nurses and doctors were friendly and accommodating, which was refreshing, of course. But they explained what was happening and why at every step of the way.
So, what does all of this have to do with advertising? Sheesh! Hold on to your trousers – I’ll tell ya!
The healthcare process can be a lot like the client-agency relationship. Clients come to us for help with symptoms they can’t explain and for which they have no discernible treatment. We’re not just talking nosebleeds or stubbed toes here. We’re talking cancer…amputated limbs…loss of eyesight. That’s how big their marketing dilemmas are.
And, sometimes, I bet they feel like a patient – waiting forever with little explanation, inexplicable proddings, ceaseless questions, needless examinations, mysterious billings…
My experience at the doctor made me realize that it’s so important for us to exude a positive, supportive, honest and consultative beside manner. Our clients may not, as a result, mind a short wait (short…NOT long), a little prodding and a fair bill. If we explain what’s happening step-by-step, there are no surprises and the client leaves our shop feeling happy and excited about us as a partner.
Some time ago, a dear friend told me about his ideal business. It wouldn’t necessarily involve a particular good or service, persay; rather, it would be something he could do with people he enjoys. I love that idea. I am learning that life’s about the impressions we leave on one another. The client approach is really no different. A client should always feel like they can confide in us, spend as much time with us as they like and that we’re as invested in the health of their company as they are.
It’s really kind of funny to me that the agency partnership, in spite of massive evolutions in technology and capabilities, truly does rely on something as simple as a pleasant phone call, a hand-written note or an in-person chat over breakfast or lunch. Pretty similar to a visit to the ole doc, wouldn’t you say?
San Francisco-based Goodby, Berlin, & Silverstein (now the 500+ employee-strong Goodby, Silverstein & Partners) launched their agency in 1983, running an ad with the headline: