Defining the role of Client Service
Over the last 10+ years of working within client services, my day to day remit has changed considerably due to the digitalisation of media, the further emergence of in-house channel specialists, strategy and investment teams, along with the different complexities various clients have faced within their marketplaces. However, despite these new intricacies, the fundamental purpose and required skills of client services remain unchanged and we shouldn’t lose sight of our core reasons for being.
Client service teams need to be the voice of the client in any internal agency or external supplier discussions, adding value to any tasks and ensuring all agency functions run as smoothly as possible to deliver the best media solution for the client.
First and foremost client service teams need to be people focused. They have to understand their clients, know how they wish their accounts to be managed (and how they need them to be managed) and distil what they are trying to communicate in briefs and conversations. They also have to be able to influence others and create strong relationships with agency specialists, creative counterparts and media owners alike.
Secondly, they need to keep abreast of media transformation and be able to articulate new opportunities to clients ahead of bringing channel specialists into any conversation. Client service teams need to be able to critique any media plan before presenting it to the client and understand how strategy needs to be activated and how different channels work together within a bought, owned and earned media ecosystem.
Fundamentally, every individual within client service has to have a clear understanding of the market their client operates in. What threats and opportunities do they face? How can media deliver business value? What other marketing agencies need to be brought in to develop the right solution? More and more we are becoming media (and business) consultants to our clients and working ever closer with marketing teams as trusted advisors to deliver specific business goals. Client service teams have to be able to brainstorm solutions with clients and translate the client’s business needs to specialist teams so that everyone is working to a common and productive goal.
Finally, client service individuals have to be super organised project managers. They need to manage ever changing deadlines and expectations. Prioritisation of tasks is key as well as keeping non-client facing teams informed and on-board.
We need to remember, it is our people within client service teams that are the key differentiator between agencies. Combine this with their knowledge and experience, along with the way in which they embody agency values and culture, and this is what makes the difference.