Researchscape surveyed 100 U.S. executives regarding their organization’s experience with the PR firm it has on retainer. The survey measured the big picture of customer experience, satisfaction, and loyalty. It compared overall satisfaction with a variety of skills and services to determine what factors were the key drivers of overall satisfaction.

Executives rate the customer experience of working with the PR agencies high: 70% on top-2 box score on average, with 72% reporting the agency is very or completely effective, 73% that it is very or completely easy to do business with, and 66% that the agency is very or completely enjoyable to work with.

Price comparisons to expectations, competitors, and quality all do well, with 68% of executives rating the dimensions, on average, good or excellent. Overall, 77% of executives are very or completely satisfied with their organization’s PR agency and it performs nearly as well for comparisons to expectations and to the ideal.

Despite strong positives for PR firms when it comes to experience, price comparisons, and satisfaction, this does not always translate to an upside for these agencies. While two-thirds (68%) of client organizations would be very or completely likely to repurchase the same services from their PR firm, fewer than half (47%) are likely to purchase additional services. Furthermore, only half (52%) indicated that they would be reluctant to switch their business to a new firm.

Developing earned media coverage is the most important driver of businesses’ overall satisfaction with their PR firms. This ability had the highest correlation to overall satisfaction (0.821 correlation, for a 67% shared variance between the two measures). Other important factors that drive overall satisfaction include social media monitoring (56% shared variance), setting up media interviews (55%), and influencer marketing (53%).

Comparing the satisfaction and importance of these services and skills shows what the weaknesses and strengths of PR firms were relative to how important they are to customer satisfaction.

PR firms’ key strengths include skills like earned media services, writing news releases, and communications support. Despite executives being satisfied with earned media services, they were less satisfied with their PR firms’ skill at developing that earned-media coverage. PR firms also need to improve in areas such as developing PR campaigns and case studies to increase their customers’ overall satisfaction.

Executives were satisfied with a number of skills and services that their PR firms provide, but these skills had less of a correlation with their overall satisfaction. Some of these assets are presentation skills, digital marketing, and overall knowledge of their clients’ business/industry. Some skills and services that are less important to overall satisfaction and respondents were less satisfied with are: speaking engagements, media pitching, and problem solving.

This is an excerpt from the free Researchscape white paper, “Amp Up News Releases with Newsmaker Surveys”;. Download your own copy now:

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Author Notes:

Jeffrey Henning

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Jeffrey Henning, IPC is a professionally certified researcher and has personally conducted over 1,400 survey research projects. Jeffrey is a member of the Insights Association and the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers. In 2012, he was the inaugural winner of the MRA’s Impact award, which “recognizes an industry professional, team or organization that has demonstrated tremendous vision, leadership, and innovation, within the past year, that has led to advances in the marketing research profession.” In 2022, the Insights Association named him an IPC Laureate. Before founding Researchscape in 2012, Jeffrey co-founded Perseus Development Corporation in 1993, which introduced the first web-survey software, and Vovici in 2006, which pioneered the enterprise-feedback management category. A 35-year veteran of the research industry, he began his career as an industry analyst for an Inc. 500 research firm.