When to cut the tie

Other companies make wider assessments before severing their ties with their customers.
Auckland PR company Botica Conroy and Associates worked with Microsoft New Zealand for nearly 10 years, since the days it first came to the country. In February this year, it relinquished the account for variety of reasons.
Director Alan Botica has always had clear idea of what he regards as the ideal client. Among its attributes are revenue, the ability to grow and the level of access — board level is best. He also like the learning curve presented by some clients and appreciates one other quality:
“It’s ‘how savvy are they about what it is you do?'” he says.
“Microsoft matched our profile absolutely and we were involved with them in doing some exciting things.”
But over the past year things changed. Microsoft appointed its own in-house PR person, Carol Leishman, who had previously worked for Botica.
“We have high regard for her,” Botica says. “Her responsibility is to manage this internally — that means we no longer had the same access. It all got filtered. There was money in it but not lot of satisfaction and you have to be passionate about it. If at some point they say ‘here’s the plan and we want you to do this, this and this’ well yes, you earn money but they would no longer fit the profile.”
In fact, the money was less than it was before Microsoft appointed in-house PR. Revenue from the account fell from peak of about 30 percent to about eight percent. And then there was one last but not insignificant factor, especially for people working in the media industry.
“Are we having fun? If we’re not having fun then it’s just too hard,” says Botica. Less satisfaction, less access, less income all added up and he approached Microsoft managing director Geoff Lawrie to tell him he would be dropping the account.
“He came to us and said it wasn’t working for him and I guess we had come to the same conclusion ourselves,” Lawrie recalls.
Which is to say that in the beginning there was Word but it went out the Windows in the Genesis of Kiwi key client management.

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