WORKING EFFECTIVELY WITH GLOBAL AND LOCAL CLIENT
Author: Vo Pham Que My
As an advertising apprentice, I’ve always concern of how to satisfy my future clients. According to Kumar et al (2003), B2B business is more complex than B2C business, because the purchases made by the organizations depend on many factors, such as profit consideration, cost, budget. Working in an agency, we need to care about our clients’ values. Moreover, I may have to work with global clients. So I wonder how to be successful in working with both local and global client. Therefore, I have to talk with an expert to clarify the problem.
First established in 2002, High Technology Trading & Service Company Limited (H.T.C) specializes in integrating and providing automatization solution for building and controlling devices. Started as an employee in H.T.C Company in the very first days, Ms. Pham Thi My Tien is now holding Director position, as well as one of the share holders of the company. She is also the one who works directly with the clients. During her 10-year-career, Ms. Tien has a lot of experience in working with both global and local client, such as Tan Son Nhat Airport Terminal, Pasteur Court Building, WHO office, Melinh Point Building, RMIT University and other well-known organizations.
“Keeping your clients happy is very important. However, you have to be flexible in working with your clients, both global and local one”, Ms. Tien said. So how different are those client? And how to work effectively with them? Ms. Tien will talk more about her experience in working with local and global client.
Different clients have different expectations. Ms. Tien said that global clients’ requirements are usually higher than the local one, because they require us to follow the international standards. However, in some cases, those requirements are not belong to company working field, or out of the company’s capability. Therefore, we have to discuss with the clients to find other solutions. The agency is the one who educate clients about setting expectations.
“Managing client expectations may be the most important thing we do for our clients. If we don’t do an adequate job of managing expectations, we set ourselves up for a failed relationship.” (Tedstrom, cited in Horowitz 2012)
Even so, in the worst case, we need to say no to our clients.
Say no to clients
We all know that “There is no ‘No’ in client vocabulary’. However, as Mr. Tue Nguyen – Managing Director in BATES Chi Vietnam- mentioned, we can say ‘No’ to the client in the ingenuity ways. So that, we can avoid making them upset, which can lead to the stop in collaboration in the future.
As the agencies, we are working on the solutions. Therefore, sometimes, the agencies have to say ‘No’ to clients’ solutions, because we have better ideas.
Ms. Tien shared one of her experiences of saying ‘No’ to her client:
“One of my clients demanded superior devices, even there are some functions that they will never use. And the cost is much higher, off course. So we gave the reasons and convinced them not to purchase in that product. Besides, we suggested them another device, which met the demand, as well as reduce the cost. That was our successful, because that client was very satisfied.”
Solomon (2008) said that the agencies should give the clients what they want first, and showing what they really need then. However, I found that in order to have a good relationship with client, the agency need to show their client what they really need, instead of giving them what they want. Since, it proves that we know about them, we understand them.
When suggesting new solution for the client, it is very important to convince them to change their mind. There is a bit different in making decisions between global and local client.
Ms. Tien said that, it is much easier to communicate with the local client, because of the same culture and language. However, it may take more time for the final decision, because there are many steps in the process. Compare to Charles Handy’s Model of Organizational Culture, local clients are usually follow the Power Culture. In those organizations, there are only few people who have the authority to take decisions. Therefore, the importance in working with those clients is that we need to do step by step, and making good relationship with not only the one that we work directly with, but also the leader of the company.
Figure 1 – Power Culture. Reproduced from Open University 2011
By contrast, it is difficult to persuade global client. They always require strong arguments with suitable reasons and suggestions. Nevertheless, when they are convinced, the proposal can be quickly approved, especially Western companies. As stated by Munton and West (1995), Western style management allows employees sharing their opinions, participating, making decision to pursue organization’s goals.
Liken to Handy’s model, these organizations follow the Task Culture, which targets on getting the job done. So we just need to work with a group. Their organization can rapidly response to the decision-making of that group. Thus, when working with them, we need to show them that we care about their values, as well as their work.
Figure 2 – Task culture. Reproduced from Open University 2011
Even global and local clients have many differences the first thing to have good relationship with them is understanding them, knowing what they really need and becoming their friends or consultants instead of being their partners. More than that, we also should know about the client’s client – the customer- because that’s the final user. Good agency is the one that help the client gain more benefits.
“Great work wins business, a great relationship keeps it”
Word count: 950
Proof of life photo
Kumar, V, Petersen, J, & Leone, R 2013, ‘Defining, Measuring, and Managing Business Reference Value’, Journal Of Marketing, vol. 77, no.1, pp. 68-86
Horowitz, AS 2012, ‘Managing Client Expectations’, Journal Of Financial Planning, pp. 6-7.
Solomon, R 2008, The Art of Client Service, 1st edn., Kaplan, NY
Munton, A.G. and West, M. A. 1995, ‘Innovations and Personal Change: Pattersn of Adjustment to Relocation’, Journal of Organizational Behavior, vol. 16, pp.361-375
Open University 2011, “Management: Perspective and Practise”, Open University, 16 June, viewed 5 September 2013, < http://www.open.edu/openlearn/money-management/management/leadership-and-management/management-perspective-and-practice/content-section-3.5.2>