“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money… It is the customer who pays the wages.” – Henry Ford

With Ford’s words in mind, we recently commissioned two independent studies to take the temperature of our customers.

For the first we used specialist agency Q&R to run a sophisticated online survey to measure our clients’ feelings on how we are performing. For the second we put ourselves up for the Recommended Agency Register process where our clients are asked whether they would recommend us to others.

I have to admit that waiting for the results was a nerve-racking experience. What if it uncovered some bad stuff? How would we react, what would we do?

Clearly, not knowing about our mistakes and weaknesses was the worst of places to be. Our thinking was that at least by getting feedback we could put any issues right and stop making the same mistakes again in the future.

The results came in… and they were good. Not perfect. But we scored exceptionally high in terms of the number of clients that would recommend us to others, high for strategic thinking, high for creativity, high for value for money.

The Q&R study highlighted that we needed to improve our communications in some areas (ironic for a communications agency?) and out of the hundred or so people that took part there were two individual issues that we were able to pinpoint and take action to address.

But on the whole it was great, great feedback: Claremont’s clients see us as trusted advisors providing excellent, valued service.

In fact our RAR score of 88% is one of the highest in the industry and, we have just been told, as a result Claremont has been shortlisted for the RAR Awards. Amazing!

As a company we’d stood naked in front of the mirror and survived the experience without trauma… in fact we found we’re looking pretty good.

Dodgy metaphors aside, I am incredibly proud.

Claremont’s season of self-examination didn’t, however, stop there. Last month we were also audited for the Consultancy Management Standard (CMS) – the PRCA’s gold standard top-to-tail assessment of all areas of the business.

The results came in and again, we weren’t perfect. But we weren’t far off; Claremont achieved one of the highest scores ever (upper nineties!). The auditors gave a particularly glowing endorsement of how the agency manages its most valuable resource: its people.

Again, I’m incredibly proud. Claremont is living true to its values of Doing The Right Thing Right.

THANK YOU to everyone.

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Addition: 29.04.15
We’ve also found out we’ve been shortlisted for a handful of Public Sector Communications Awards!