Corporate to Agency

Having just made the transition from Corporate to Agency, I have a very fresh memory of what it is like to work in public relations for a single organization and then move to a PR agency where I am working on multiple accounts. And let me tell you it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

Working for the man

While working at an agency and on the corporate side are both time consuming, there are major differences. In the corporate world, things move slowly. You have to follow bureaucratic rules and sometimes it can take a week for a news release to be approved. Many corporations may not want to have any public attention — good or bad.

I call it the ostrich. You know, because an ostrich will stick its head in the sand whenever something comes up. Well, at least that’s what I learned from cartoons.

Projects and causes your organization take part in become difficult to put out there in these situations. Not all organizations are like this, but getting anything approved is a long-winded process.

It may seem bleak, but it’s not. There are advantages to corporate life. You gain a much deeper understanding of the business and its culture. The work provides stability and longevity in many cases.

Fast and Furious

Seriously, I don’t think I could describe it any better. Everything moves a lot faster when working for an agency. You work for multiple clients and projects at once. This requires you to know a lot about not only your client and how they think and act, but about strategy. You have to be mindful of trends and current affairs that could involve any one of your clients.

Your clients look to you for advice and direction for everything that is PR. You’re the expert, so you’d better know what you’re talking about — or at least sound like it.

This fast paced environment may sound fun and exciting, but it could lead to longer hours, including nights and weekends.

One or the other

So which is best? I think they both offer benefits and drawbacks. For me, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Life in both is so drastically different. I will say one thing about life at an agency — I’m never bored.

The Impact of Customer Service

Whether your business is large or small, we all can appreciate great customer service.

Customer service and satisfaction are the key fundamentals to a successful business as well as a positive change in the work environment. There are a majority of people that think customer service is about putting on a fake smile and saying “Hi, how can I help you?” Well, I am here to tell you that customer service is not all about being pleasant. Customer service is about having that positive helpful attitude, making people smile and leaving customers on a high note.

Whether we stand in the checkout line at the grocery store, call an insurance company, visit the doctor’s office, or are just simply sitting in our vehicles ready to order food in the drive thru, we as customers who want to be taken care of.  

Sure, we all have bad days, but wouldn’t it be a better day if we all had that one person, that one experience, that one smile looking at you asking “Hello, how are you, and how can I help?” It is easier said than done and not everyone has the ability to turn their frowns upside down. A negative experience usually causes the customer to feel undervalued and unappreciated. Perception is everything in customer service. What we say and how we say it greatly impacts how customers feel about an experience. Using positive language and having the ability to care about others often rescues a bad interaction, leaving customers on a high note.

One way a customer experience can assist with a company’s growth and impact its bottom line is by word of mouth (WOM) and social media. WOM can increase business growth while earing credibility as a whole. Social media can also be used to provide customer service by enhancing product while giving positive visuals and insightful feedback such as reviews.

We will talk more about social media in the next customer service blog. Please stay tuned for “The Impact of Customer Service” part two as follows:

  • Tips to providing great customer service through social media
  • Customer service skills that every employee needs
  • Keys to improving your team’s customer service skills

 - LeeAndra Klemm, Office Coordinator 

Travel Time

I was fortunate to spend the last ten days travelling with my family visiting London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Brugge. Unfortunately, I still had conference calls and work to do as I walked an average of 12,600 steps everyday visiting monuments, tombs, churches, palaces and museums.

With a six hour time difference while in London, work on the road became a question of timing. The usual 7:30 a.m.(CST)  morning conference call  back in Milwaukee became my 1:30 p.m. (CEST) afternoon call in London. The 11:30 a.m. conference call became my 5:30 p.m. call.

Returning e-mails while taking the train from Brussels to Amsterdam also required attention to timing. With no WIFI on the train, I had to send my e-mails during the station stops on our two-hour train ride from Brussels to Amsterdam. No mind that my 8:30 a.m. e-mails arrived back in Milwaukee at 1:30 a.m.

Travel time - London

In some respects, I liked having a seven hour jump on everyone back at home. You literally were ahead of everyone else. Though I found eating numerous Belgium chocolates and drinking many Belgian beers often blurred that distinction.  Jet lag achieved the same effect my first day in London (see candid photo).

Timing is often a key to success in business. That’s particularly true while travelling and working abroad.

- Jeffrey Remsik, President and CEO