It’s not all plain sailing. When agency life gets tough.

We recently launched a new website navigation for one of our favourite and most valued clients. As you may know, we are selective about who we work with, working only with those we like and care about. So when things do occasionally go wrong, it really hits us hard.

For this project, we followed our process and didn’t cut corners.

  • We identified opportunities to make improvements based on a blend of stakeholder aspiration, internal experience and user insight.
  • We created designs and gained validation from prospects.
  • We built, tested, tweaked, tested again, optimised and tested one more time for safe measure.
  • We launched.
  • Then we discovered issues that needed fixing. Complex issues.

For someone who helps run a leading digital agency, I’m technically challenged at best. In this sort of reactive situation there is very little I can do to physically help other than bring a cool(ish) head and help the team take a step back — but that’s about it. But that’s okay if the most important factor when overcoming challenges is already in place; culture.

1) Mistakes will occasionally happen, when they do it’s important to reflect and look at how we can avoid such things moving forward.

Action: Create a culture of continual learning and improvement. No blame culture and no finger pointing. Just focusing on the solution.

2) When things go wrong, professional pride motivates us to put things right. But having a genuine partnership with your clients takes it a step further.

Action: Make sure you’re not just a supplier. Each member of the team needs to value those you work with, partnerships create a mindset that motivates.

3) There is nothing worse than giving a project your all, the long hours and emotion. Only to get a shitty email the minute something isn’t perfect. Fortunately that hasn’t happened for us, and we know why:

Action: Work with nice people. If your clients value you and know that you are doing everything in your power to put things right, they’ll often be very understanding. If they aren’t you’re probably working with the wrong sort of business culture, and your staff don’t deserve that.

All in all, the key take-way is not to be too harsh on ourselves. There was no f*@king up, and issues will naturally arise. What’s more important is how you respond to these issues. Having an amazing team, working with great people, with a partnership mentality will go a long way to smoothing these issues out.

So there we have it — a tough time in the office, but the challenge was overcome. The team at 3Sixty and the client pulled together– and that troublesome solution is now driving 35% more revenue per visit.