working towards great client service

Appyling your Emotional Intelligence in client management

Have you ever want to punch in client’s face? Have you ever want to kick client’s ass? Have you ever lost your control?  – You will!

Once you walk into the workplace, in some of your very first meetings with clients, you will find that some of them are the jerks.

However, you should remember that you are an employee for your agency. You are paid for creating advantages within whatever pressures. Therefore, the only way to cope with these clients is to use your emotional self-control in any time.

I have an interesting conversation with Mr. Nguyen Binh Phuong Vu, strategic planner, 25 year old, working at TBWA in Singapore, about using Emotional Intelligent (EQ) in client management. Basically, EQ is the measurement of how smart you are in using your emotion. Vu shows me the importance of using EQ in managing clients and how to use EQ in client management.


Nguyen Binh Phuong Vu – Strategic Planner – TBWA Singapore

Importance of EQ

A friend vs. a slave

Besides the idea of building relationship, managing a client by EQ is to know how to differentiate yourself between “a supplier” and “a partner” of your client. On the other words, “your agency’s service is about providing suggestions and ideas, not about selling slaves”, Vu explains. If you do not know how to say no, you have to do whatever your clients suggest. And so, you are their slaves. Also, there will be no financial negotiation for a slave. Your agency provides a free service, congratulation!

Fortunately, EQ helps you to maintain your relationships with your clients; it shows you the way to say “no” without destroying the friendly atmosphere. By using EQ, you will know that “the fastest way to get into someone mind is the way through heart” Vu states.


How to use your EQ

Your clients’ buddy  

Vu says “client management is all about relationship management”. In order to make a successful relationship, we have to understand each other, he adds. Vu gives an example that “if a client is not shape, the agency then needs to be more detailed in how we present the work to them”. Then, clients will understand that where we are coming from easily. Otherwise the client wouldn’t be convinced about our approach. Hence, Vu recommends “we should hang out with clients more to understand them better”. Being their buddy is the extremely effective way to discover your clients; “once you understand him or her, your business goes in a sentence”, Vu said.

Applying theory on your clients

As my research shows that there are five main components that determine the EQ (Ciarrochi & Mayer 2007). They are self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, social skills and motivation. Vu agrees this theory. However, Vu believe “theory is true…just only when you know how to apply it.”. He shows me the way to use these components in client management.

Self awareness – understanding both sides

Vu believes that self-awareness in client management is not only about knowing who you are but also your client’s types. “Both sides have to be fit”, he adds. By hanging out with your clients, you will understand them more. “Throughout informal conversations, clients will reveal themselves and you can read them”, Vu states. Then, you can recognize that these clients can be your long-term partners or not.


Figure 1. Reproduced from: Ramos 2012

Self regulation – choose your emotion

Self-regulation is about controlling your emotion (Ryback 1998).  Vu agrees that this component is the hardest one. Vu says “controlling your emotion is not only limited at being nice with client”, it is about choosing right expressions for each one who you work with. Vu gives an example that clients, who are aggressive, should be treated calmly.  Also, we need to learn how to say “no” with the clients who ask so much. However, it is important to say “no” in the way that we can maintain our relationship for later on.

Empathy – standing in your clients’ shoes

Next, empathy is another component of EQ. Vu believes that the people with high-empathy skill can save more time, firstly. Secondly, agency does not require the clients explain so much, which could lead to the uncomfortable feeling. Hence, it is important to use empathy in order to save times for both sides and create a comfortable feeling. Vu agrees with the theory from Goleman (1998) that women are much better than men in this aspect. Vu shares that he usually understands clients’ situation slower than his female colleagues.  Therefore, his advices, sometimes, do not meet with clients’ expectations at the very first moments.

Motivation – a cure to save your life 

Motivation can be understood as the passion with our job (Goleman 1998). Vu says that passion is the only cure that helps him avoid from stress. “Clients always create time and financial pressures” Vu explains. In these moments, Vu usually looks back his achievements as a self-motivation that he can keep going. Besides, responsibility is another motivation. “Whenever I am thinking about giving up the tasks, my team (colleagues) appears in my mind. I just cannot leave them there.”


Figure 2: reproduced by Gassan 2012.

Social skill – communicate, communicate and communicate

Finally, social skills are the skills of creating, building and maintaining relationship (Stein & Book 2006). Vu says that this skill will take time. Moreover, the only way to master social skills is to meet as much people as you can, especially your clients. You should spent time with them, talk with them, listen to them and learn from them. Vu observes that women are naturally better than men at social skill, which has been proved by Goleman (1998). Most of them are more patient than men. Therefore, males should learn how to be patient in order to listen to others.

In conclusion, emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to control and use your emotion smartly. EQ helps you to differentiate yourself between a supplier and a partner. To use your EQ effectively, you should hang out with your clients; understand both yourself and your clients; choose your behaviors and emotion to deal with them; put yourself in clients’ situations; have responsibility in with yourself and others; and meet more people to improve your communication’s skills.

I believe that agency are now looking for the people with high level of EQ rather than IQ. EQ is the golden key in negotiation and building agency/company’s image. By gaining your EQ, you will both success in workplace and your daily life.

Word count: 1062

Posted by: Duong Nguyen Phuong Nam



›  Ciarrochi, J & Mayer, J 2007, Applying Emotional Intelligence, Psychology Press, New York, NY.

›  Gassan, M 2012, ‘See Things Clearly!’, image, Adsoftheworlds, viewed 10  May 2012, <>

›  Goleman, D 1998, ‘What makes a leader?’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 76, no. 6, pp. 82- 91.

›  Ramos, O 2012, ‘Unlimited minutes plan, Political’, image, Adsoftheworld, viewed 10  May 2012, <>

›  Stein, S J & Book, H E 2006, Emotional Intelligence and your success, Jossey-Bass, San Fanscisco, CA.

Single Post Navigation

One thought on “Appyling your Emotional Intelligence in client management

  1. Good mix of theory and interviewee POV. However, branding clients as always being ‘jerks’ is not always a good mindset to have in the workplace. We need to remember that there is also a client oerspective, maybe there are ‘jerk’ agencies too and clients have their own EQ considerations on how to deal with them. ~Mel C

Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: