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What a great read that was. Already in its third edition, “The Art of Client Service” by respected client service executive Robert Solomon of Solomon Strategic is a practical guide for providing exceptional client service that most advertising and marketing people love. It’s filled with advice on what you should and should not do as an account manager, how to act in certain situations, how to write a project scope, proposals, conference reports, describing the path of building, losing, then regaining trust with clients.
Here’s some important yet simple concepts necessary for great client service.
1. “It seems so simple; why is it so hard?”
Yes, it’s not easy doing what’s best for the client, the agency, the creative team, while managing to stay on strategy and on budget. That’s why they call it (on the cover, also) an Art.
2. “Listen carefully for client concerns, even when they are not stated overtly. Especially when they are not stated overtly.”
The feedback you get to your creative team is not only your note of a specific issue brought up in the meeting with the client. You should ask questions, try to get answers, get to the bottom of the client’s concerns.
3. “Live the client’s brand”
Know it like the back of your hand. Understand your customer’s business, speak their language, get familiar with their history and culture, talk to clients and employees, read the press, follow them on social media. Know as much as they do about their industry.
4. Support what you say
Always be ready to justify your choices and support your recommendations with data and facts. In that way you protect your credibility and your client’s confidence in you, your capabilities and your services.
5. You cannot lead an account from your desk
It’s a business built upon relationships. Be present at their office and at their events, visit them regularly to develop an understanding with them. Use technology to support your communication, not to replace your face-to-face communication with them. Connect with them on a personal level.
6. Once a client, always a client
Creating lasting professional relationships means creating a lasting trusted resource for recommendations and references. It is thus important to sustain a relationship even when you are no longer working together.
7. “No rule can accommodate every situation, and no list of rules is exhaustive. In the end, the only rule you can rely on is this: judgment rules.”
Be honest, learn from your mistakes, accept responsibility and use your best judgement to face the new challenges that come along and that can only make you better.