Some Client Services Director Wisdom here
Next up as part of our “sharing the wisdom series”: Steve Jefferys, Client Services Director at Armadillo CRM. Having graduated with a History degree, Steve moved to London to start his career on a graduate programme with TEQUILA\ London (part of the TBWA\ Group). A number of years and agency roles later – and having been below-, above-, through- and then back to below-the-line specialisms – Steve moved to Armadillo CRM to take up the role leading the Client Services team to drive the strategic agenda across all clients.
Now, in an attempt to capture some of the wisdom you’ve gained as a professional so far, what are “5 stand-out things” you’ve learned within the past 15 years of working within Client Services.
Always tackle the most awkward thing first: as much as you try and convince yourself otherwise, that tricky client conversation or that internal performance issue will only become bigger and more difficult to address the longer you try and evade it. Go against every instinct and make yourself do it. You’ll feel better and the person on the receiving end will respect you all the more for it. You’ll remember how good it feels and you’ll keep doing it in future.
Take people with you: you might think you’re onto a winner with an idea or a strategy and you can almost see your name in lights, but you’ll never achieve what you want just by flying solo. There’s always someone that can keep you honest, make your idea better, sharper or more articulate and will have thought of something that would never have entered your head. And if you don’t engage those around you from the outset, you’ve no chance of them catching you up after.
Delegation is empowerment; not a weakness: never try and take everything on. It just doesn’t work: you’ll burn out and you’ll drop a ball at some point. Nobody wins. So take a step back, set out where you want to get to, think about where you can add value and where others would be better suited to a task. Be clear and authoritative, set a deadline and allow time for course correction. It will empower and inspire individuals and teams to do the very best work for you (and often better than you’d do it yourself).
Get to know your client – personally and politically: it’s a tired old adage that an account person needs to make the client their best friend. But the important thing is to get to know your client on two levels. First, what personally motivates them in their role and how can you play to this need? If you help them look good they’ll come back again and again (and often when you move on, too). Second, politically. Sounds cryptic, of course, but the better you know the world your client moves in and operates under, the better you can help them plot a course through it. It’ll help your stock rise and, you guessed it, they’ll come back to you again and again.
Move quickly from theory to action: you can think all you want, but the more you think and theorise the more you overthink – and ideas, strategies or initiatives just grind to a halt. So have a clear objective in mind, set out some logical ways you can achieve them, bring your client (and others – see above) on the journey, and make a concise, costed and time-bound plan to achieve them. Fast. It helps to focus your thinking and make things happen.
Thank You Steve for sharing!