The art of mastering the peace of client-agency relationship
Author: Quach Ngoc Ly
ID number: s3402828
“Client management is not that drama. Once you understand your clients, you offer them the right things. Then your relationship should be fine” – said Ms. Tran Thanh Tam – client management of AVC Eldeman, a Public Relation company that has more than 67 offices globally.
Figure 1: Ms. Tran Thanh Tam – reproduced from Linkedin (n.d)
Tam, with a warm and friendly smile, greeted me at her office in a cool-breezy-air day. It is the sense of initiative as mine first impression of her. Tam has been working in the Marketing and Communication industry for more than five years. With her passion as being a successful client manager, she was so happy to share her experience when I asked her about the difficulty and direction in dealing with clients.
Before giving me the answer, she did not forget to mention some typical types of clients to me: “There are many types of client, however, I can tell three typical types among them: the first type is clients who are straight forward and determined that they want the agency carry out the plan as their request, the second type is clients who are looking for a partner and they need the agency’s advices, the last type is clients who don’t even know what they really want”. This lightened me up and made me wonder about these client types, especially the first one. How can I find a way to work with them and keep the relationship when it came to disagreement? Is the client always right?
Ms. Tam was really sharp-witted when she quickly realized my confused look. “Take it easy. You should understand how client think first”-said Mr. Tam. She continued to explain that when clients come to you, they all have one thing in common: They care about the outcomes but want their decision to be considered as powerful (Kiisel 2012). Client management is about how you manage the service and create value for your clients. “20% is personal stuffs, the rest 80% is business”– Ms. Tam asserts. You have to understand your clients first because it is not always about work, but other personal sides, for example, your client’s hobbies, interests, and so on. When talking about this 20%, the point is just simply baring in mind that don’t consider them as clients but be their friend instead (Solomon 2008). Meanwhile, the rest 80% accounts for quite a lot in the relationship with clients. Business here does not mean money but “Everything needs it process” Mr. Tam said. From the beginning you should show the process of how agency works to clients so that they can agree and respect the agency. To be specific, you should keep clients updated of what you are doing so far and once they know you deliver the right things, they would be happy. However, you should also be aware when it comes to unwanted issues that clients just want you to follow their plan (Tugend 2013). “Listen to them, agree with them, and add values for their ideas”- Mr. Tam said. This case happens quite regular in the industry, just remember that putting client first is important but you are the one who have experiences, researches and data to show them how this specific job should be done. It means that agency should be dignified in the conversation between themselves and clients since that is the best way to bring out the most effective outcomes.
The interview with Ms. Tam was the golden chance for me to have a better understanding about the relationship between client and agency in the workplace. Her motto of work has helped me realized that I need to be openly, step out from my comfort zone, be friend with clients and support them with my passion , and client relationship management will be an interesting job.
Proof of Life (Photo taken by author)
Kiisel, T 2012, ‘Three reasons why the customers isn’t always right’, Forbes, 25 September, viewed 8 January 2014,
Linkedin, n.d, ‘ Tran Thanh Tam profile’, image, viewed 8 January 2014
Solomon, R 2008, The Art of Client Service, 1st edn., Kaplan, New York
Tugend, A 2013,’ Dealing with clients’, The New York Time, 18 October, viewed 8 January 2014,