3 Ways to Reduce Over Servicing for PR

Agency work isn’t easy. Clients can be demanding, and account executives want to do everything they can to keep their customers happy. But with an average billing rate of $183/hour, the costs of performing unpaid client work add up quickly.

We’ve put together a few tips to help you and your team stay on track.

1. Measure Employee Utilization

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Mr. Cuddles bills $183 a meower

Employee Utilization is a measure of how effective your employees are at billing their time. It’s a simple but essential equation:

Actual Hours Billed
Available Billable Hours

Measuring and optimizing employee utilization allows you to understand who is free to take on additional work, who is under or over performing, and who is spending too much time on non-billable projects. And by having an at-a-glance view of the most over or underutilized employees, agencies are able to more effectively operate their business and increase profitability.

2. Get Real-Time Visibility into Your Projects

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Miss Noodles hides from her most-feared predator, the Excel spreadsheet

It’s too difficult to juggle multiple views for time tracking, project costs, and employee billability. Agencies need an easy way to identify outliers and trends, so they can proactively manage their team. Unless you’re the type of person who wants to spend your time creating Excel macros and battling in the undoubtedly bizarre world ofcompetitive financial modeling, you’re going to need dashboards and reports that provide both managers and employees with real-time data to better perform their jobs. By surfacing these metrics, it becomes much easier to recognize — and stop — over servicing before it becomes a problem.

3. Set Benchmarks for Key Tasks

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Agency work has expanded to include digital content and strategy, SEO, and host of services that run the gamut from crisis management to product design. In order to effectively run a team, particularly one with multiple offices and dozens or hundreds of employees, accurate benchmarking is a must have.

Projects can be benchmarked by client type, scope, level of effort, or any other category that cuts across all possible roles in your organization. With proper benchmarks in place — and the ability to easily track, manage, and allocate employee time — agencies are able to significantly reduce administrative costs and ensure all employees are providing the right level of service to their clients.

Leading agencies have benchmarks for writing press releases, drafting talking points, pitching the media, etc., but it can be challenging to go back in time and assess how well your team is performing against them — or even whether or not the benchmarks themselves are realistic. 

Accurate benchmarking is key to maximizing billable hours. When combined with real-time visibility into projects and a deep understanding of employee utilization, agencies are able to significantly reduce over servicing and create a culture of operational excellence.