Whatever level, at every stage of their career, there are key attributes present inside every Client Services professional.
Combined, these nine elements help to develop the art form which is effective account management on behalf of a client. We call it the art of Client Services.
1. Have a vision
Client Services has to do a lot – present ideas to stakeholders, support colleagues and collaborate on projects. And that’s before you take the big financial job of estimating, managing time, billing and reporting. The art is to be super organised. Plan ahead with astonishing levels of attention to detail.
In order to have a clear vision, take time to plan how to improve your day and manage your tasks.
2. Display an understanding
From working towards the goals and priorities of your own company, to understanding the unique offering and approach of your clients, being knowledgeable is essential. With experience comes a deep knowledge of what the right course of action is, which leads to increasing trust from your clients and colleagues.
There’s no shortcut to learning. Take time to learn your client’s products and services, and their rivals’ too.
3. Know your audience
Clients rely on Client Services to have their best interests at heart, and it doesn’t take much for this relationship to be damaged. The art is to go the extra mile to nurture every relationship and build trust. Being consistently open and honest about prices, times, processes and anything else will help clients feel certain about your abilities.
Money conversations can feel awkward, so learn from everyone how to better secure trust with your clients.
4. Convey a message
Listening and speaking effectively is an art form. Done well, you can absorb more information, make more effective decisions and build a better understanding of your clients’ and colleagues’ needs. Through effective communication, clients should never be left wondering whether you understand what they’ve asked, leading to more trust, and a better rapport.
Never be afraid to ask questions and try to gain a sense of how your client likes to be communicated to. Are they detail-oriented, or more top line?
5. Demonstrate passion
Everyone in an agency is dedicated to their job. But more than other departments, Client Services needs to be passionate. You need to care about the client’s problem as if it’s your own. Building a sense of rapport by showing passion and care is a crucial quality for Client Service, and one that isn’t easy to pull off.
Never underestimate the importance of gifts – and we're not talking about cake. Curiosity is at the centre of healthy client relationships, so why not offer knowledge of competitors or a report on the wider industry?
6. Get stuck in
Every project is important, which is why Client Services staff throw themselves right into the middle of everything, so everything is delivered on time, on budget and with a quality mix of creative and strategy. You are the conductor at the heart of it all. The conduit between the client and your colleagues, playing a vital role in keeping everything moving. Without you, everything will quickly lose rhythm.
An informed client is a happy client.
7. Expand horizons
It’s one thing to get the job done. It’s an art form to offer consultative feedback, give useful guidance and remind clients you’ve got their back. Understanding what makes a client tick, and using that information to grow the relationship is a sought-after skill, essential for Client Services.
Spend time really getting to know your clients and where you can best help them.
8. Focus on the new
Only doing what’s needed will never take you further. You need to stay ahead of the curve and take every opportunity to learn and experience new things. And if possible, try to encourage clients to try new things too.
Challenge every brief. Is there something different you could try?
9. Never settle
Stay focused and keep pushing on. That’s the mark of a great Client Services professional. If you can help your clients achieve their goals, you’re on the path to success. The more experienced you are, the more you can use this knowledge to actively identify new areas of growth.
KPIs are your friend. If your client hasn’t provided anything, ask for them.
It’s an art, not a science
It’s not easy being in Client Services, but it is rewarding. If you can successfully master the art form, you’ll be respected by clients, colleagues and more.
Whether you’re just starting out, or boast masses of experience, never settle. There’s always more to learn.