I’ve gotten used to defending my job. When I tell people I manage social media accounts, I usually get a look akin to asking a pug if they’d like to go on a walk (head tilted to the side with a look of excitement mixed with confusion). What I have not grown accustomed to, however, is the incredibly awkward moment when a client asks, “what am I paying for?”
This question never fails to evoke a passionate response from me, one that usually begins with me texting Rach a multitude of cuss words peppered with the words “detailed proposal” and “been working with us for (____) number of months.” After a small outburst, during which I’ve also managed to send Rach into ‘fix-it’ mode and have Steph behind me as an equally angry hype man, I type out a dignified response to the client explaining to them an exact breakdown of their monthly fees.
As I’m angrily typing out that email to the client, explaining what the customized strategy has already told them and reiterating what I’ve been saying during the three years we’ve been working together, I can’t help but be offended. To sit down and have to explain my position, at least quarterly, is degrading. Do other professionals have to explain why they’re getting a paycheck, even when nothing has changed?
When you take your car to a mechanic, you typically get a bill with a breakdown of all the costs on it. However, when you take the car home, do you call the mechanic back and keep making him explain each and every cost even though you have a copy of that bill right in front of you? This is the kind of nonsense I’m talking about. The snarkier part of my personality wants to type something about looking at my email from three months ago for the answer, but instead I play along.
I’ll detail everything I do for the client, further explaining their costs, but the truth is that I’m a little insulted. A lot of our clients get extras that we don’t bill for, nor do they understand the scope of. For one client, I wrote a blog, a darn good one too, once a month. I heard from the client that 90 percent of the feedback he received was about that very blog, but when I proposed an increase to two blogs a month, he said something to the effect of, “I’m already paying too much.” If that doesn’t hit you like a bullet in the chest, I don’t know what does.
See, what the client doesn’t know is that he is paying a fraction of what newer clients pay. He also doesn’t know that when you do the math, I was making minimum wage per day on his account to write 20 tweets, 20 LinkedIn updates, a monthly blog, and the monitoring of all of these channels while he’s telling me he’s paying too much.
Laymen are never going to understand what I do. I’ve come to grips with this. But, a client should. Don’t get me wrong, most of our clients are awesome. They understand exactly what we’re trying to accomplish and don’t ever question the costs. Some, however, expect miracles. It’s exhausting, at times.
When I’m checking Twitter, ten times a day, to make sure that no RT goes ignored on something of importance to you, that’s the level of service you can’t put a price tag on. One of many. That’s what we do.
Anyone else feel like their work is undervalued?
I couldn't help but empathize. This "What am I paying for?" recently came in from a client for whom I was managing complete PPC campaigns (Unlike many agencies I know, I also do landing pages, email automation, integrations, reporting, tracking, A/B testing, and optimization).
After working for a full year or so, he's like, "This is how I run my company. I don't know why you have to insist on landing pages. Why don't we just stick to the beautiful HTML landing pages we built?".
"I don't want leads. I want sales" -- why doesn't someone tell him leads turn into sales? 🙂
This thing never ends. If you can, please let me know how you manage to convince your clients. I'll remember you forever 🙂
When I am able to figure it out, I will definitely let you. Thanks for your notes on the blog, I really appreciate the feedback. It's nice to know I'm not the only one this happens to! Have a great week!
Please don't forget 🙂 Thank you for being another one in the universe who could understand (and write about) what's on my head all the time 🙂