Ask any agency owner and they’ll tell you that effective client services are pivotal to their success. A client services team will build and sustain close relationships, ensuring everything runs smoothly and that outputs are delivered on time and in line with the client’s expectations.
Those who possess the right skills and attitude throughout their career in agency, from account executive to account director, may find themselves earmarked for the high profile role of client services director. In the final instalment of our Agency Career Timeline series, we look at what’s expected and how this role has evolved in recent years and why building and managing client relationships is no longer enough.
Traditional requirements of the role
A client services director has a number of core responsibilities that have remained unchanged, including managing the day-to-day work of the wider account management team and making sure there’s consistent quality across all outputs, handling and reporting.
However, one of the most critical elements of the role is the engagement with clients to gain an understanding of their business dynamic and culture, short to long-term goals and any challenges they face. With this knowledge, the client services director will form strategies and map out the best tactical approach for the account team.
Other skills and attributes client services directors should possess are:
- The ability to read situations and identify the best course of action
- Passion for the industries and businesses of clients
- Ability to motivate agency teams to produce the best work
- Enthusiasm and energy regardless of what might be going on
- The ability to identify what a client needs rather than what they want (and having the confidence to tell them).
How the role has evolved
Nothing demonstrates the changes in client services quite like the statement made by managing partner at Geometry Global UK Andrew Bell in his Campaign article: “Today, when I interview and ask about strengths, the most common response I hear is ‘I’m good with people, strong at building relationships.’ Essential yes, but my eyes glaze over.”
The past decade has seen a seismic shift in marketing approach, with agencies forced to adapt and thrive against a backdrop of rapid and unpredictable change. An outstanding piece of press coverage or a knockout advert no longer cuts the mustard for brands who now require the constant broadcast of messaging to encourage engagement and influence people.
As a result, client services directors must now act as the trusted partner who will guide clients through this new world and find increasingly innovative ways to connect with customers. Going far beyond building relationships, client services directors must now understand how consumers act, how they buy and become even more familiar with the inner workings of a client’s business. Only then will they be able to provide the right creative solutions that will change consumer behaviour and enhance business performance for their clients.
In short, a client services director in 2018 must be more of a navigator than a practitioner. The question is, have you got what it takes to guide clients through today’s marketing landscape and deliver real business results?
We hope you’ve enjoyed our Agency Career Timeline series, spanning from getting your foot in the door and landing that first promotion, all of the way through to taking on the coveted role of client services director. If you’re ready for a fresh agency challenge, get in touch with the expert agency recruitment team at Henry Nicholas to find out more about the latest exciting roles on offer.