working towards great client service

Be slave to what you desire to be

Written by Doan Nguyen Ngoc Nhung – 3146241

It was a Saturday morning. I hung out with a close friend of mine from high school. When she heard that I felt interested in Account Management, she looked at me surprisingly and nearly yelled at me: “Account management? Believe me, you should not take that position because you will be slave to both creative team and your clients. One of the worst jobs I have ever done in my career so far”.

I felt a little bit shocked. She spent hours on talking about conflicts and obstacles she had confronted when she worked there. I thought a lot about our conversation and wondered myself. Therefore, I decided to meet Tong Vinh Phuc, another friend of mine, who has been currently working at Leo Burnet as a senior account executive to gain different points of view.

Account executive is an art and a great account person is an artist who knows how to promote it to the highest level.

Phuc confirms what my friend said to me is true but being an account person does not mean you are pushed in the middle and suffered pressure from both creative team and client. For him, conflict is necessary because it reflects that the relationship is developing. Each team has responsibility for different tasks and supports each other to achieve common goal (Ohrt 2010). Conflicts are unavoidable, what you need is to be calm and flexible in order to solve them smoothly. Account executive is an art and a great account person is an artist who knows how to promote it to the highest level.

There is no “NO” in client vocabulary.


Figure 1. Reproduced from: hclbbraintrain 2013

I ask Phuc is it accurate that you cannot refuse client. Phuc says client certainly wants agency to fulfill all their requirements for sure. When you say you are not able to achieve although one small thing of their requests, their willing to cooperate with you suddenly reduces. As a result, agency’s responsibility is to give what client wants before their needs (Solomon 2008). However, a clever account person not only provides what his client demands but also know how to lead his client into the way he would like to without being recognised. Sometimes client cannot distinguish between their wants and needs. Hence, you should evaluate your client’s knowledge and even educate them somehow, show them what suits them better and persuade them to be on your side (Rust & Oliver 2000).

Manage client expectations well at the beginning will bring satisfied client at the end.


Figure 2. Reproduced from: andyhanselman 2012

There are two ways to exceed expectation (Oliver 1989). The first way is client expectations exceeded a little bit, so although the result is better than expected, client does not feel surprised much. The second way is the level of exceeding expectations is unpredictably high which means that client would not have expected that agency would has performed that well. In other words, lower client expectations, then delight them is one of the techniques that Phuc used frequently to surpass his client expectations. Undoubtedly, adding more values and serving something unexpected are smart choices.


Figure 3. Reproduced from: Becker 2012

Based on what Phuc tells me, I image that I am an orchestra conductor, my client is audience, my creative team is a huge instrumental group, problems and issues between agency and client are musical notes. If I desire to become an account executive, I should regard my career as an art and consider myself as a great artist, it is time for me to show my ability by conducting my orchestra to play the song beautifully in order to please my audience.

“Being slave for what you passionate in is good, so why not?”, as Phuc inspires me.


Taken by me

Word count: 610


Andyhanselman Consulting 2012, Customer delight as competitive advantage – 60 ideas to help make it work for you!, Andyhanselman Consulting, viewed 8 January 2014, <>.

Becker, J P 2012, ‘Bringing music to life’, image, Illustration & Art Licensing, 12 March, viewed 8 January 2014, <>.

Hcplbraintrain 2013, ‘Fifth stop … novel and adaptive thinking’, image, Blogspot, 10 June, viewed 8 January 2014, <>.

Ohrt, D 2010, Is your agency account-driven or creative-driven?, Advertising Age, posted 12 October, viewed 8 January 2014, <>.

Oliver, L R 1989, ‘Processing of the satisfaction response in consumption: A suggested framework and research propositions’, Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior, vol. 2, pp. 1-16.

Rust, T Roland & Oliver, L Richard 2000, ‘Should we delight the customer?’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, January, vol.28, no.1, pp. 86-94.

Solomon, R 2008, The art of client service, revised and updated edn, Kaplan Publishing, New York.

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