Conducted candidly and dispassionately, a postmortem can improve your existing and future business relationships
There are a number of reasons client relationships go bad. The problem is that agencies don’t take the time to sit down and talk about what happened. Several years ago, I developed what I believe to be an appropriate CSI tool—The Client Relationship Autopsy—a blame-free, open approach to looking at why you lost a client and what you can learn from the experience. Here’s a basic outline that I suggest you adapt and adopt at your own firm:
Step 1: Talk to your team
Explain that as of today, the agency will no longer be working with Client X. Although there may be an obvious cause of death, it would be a serious mistake not to look deeper. Remind them that this is a client that the agency spent a great deal of time and money trying to secure—and that when team members won the business, they cheered as if their country had just won the World Cup. Ask how they feel about how a once-celebrated relationship with so much promise ended before its time, and possibly in a gruesome fashion.
Cause of death isn’t actually so much about the cause, as the reason. A person may have died from a virus, but how did he catch it? That’s what we want to understand.