In a recent conversation with an agency owner, I asked, “How many ‘happy’ clients do you have?”

She thought I was facetious, but I pressed on asking, “What’s the number?” She said, “I think all are pleased or they wouldn’t be working with me.” 

Okay, that’s a good start, but is it really true? Is that an opinion or a fact?

How many of your ‘happy’ clients are just tolerating your agency or believe your agency is strong in one area but weak in others? Wouldn’t that information be valuable to know?

The only time we hear from unhappy clients is when they call to complain. But, has a client ever called to say, “I’m really pleased with you and your agency’s work!” And in the rare case of that happening, wouldn’t it be useful to dig deep and know just what precisely the client is pleased about?

What to do? Call the clients you think are pleased with you. You’ll get invaluable insights into your agency’s strengths and weaknesses … in much more detail than you’d get from a disgruntled client. And, you’ll get validation that what you’re doing is spot-on.

What to say? Call the clients, asking for ten minutes of their time explaining that, “Our agency is planning for next year and we want to improve even further on all the positive things we do for our best clients of which you are one of them. With that, I’d like to ask you this: What are some of the things you like best about working with us?”

Result: You’ll end up getting a slew of positive comments, which, if you ask permission, you can use on your website, in presentations and in your newsletter.

Now that unquestionably, is much more effective than asking for testimonials.

Joel Cohen is the founder of CEO Stars – – a unique concept with over 105 ad agency CEOs participating.