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Archive for the category “Client Service Jobs”

“There is no right or wrong, yes or no in the event industry”

Interviewed by Ly Nguyen Ha Giang – s3411910 – Group 1 – SGS

 

Yes, I really want to meet this lady! I have to and I will!

I kept logging into Ms. Vu Thi Hoai Thuong’s profile – the account manager at Square Event – every day after accidentally finding her on LinkedIn. This lady with a smiling face creates the feelings that she is easy to talk to. This lady has the valuable experience with nearly five years working in the account team of different agencies such as 2res Co., Golden Communication Group and Square Group. She has the skills. She is exactly the one I had been looking for to write a magazine article about.
Square Event established in 2005 is a part of Square Direction Communication Group providing three core services to their clients including special event, activation and show management. Specifically, Ms. Thuong shared that in Square, account managers are not only responsible for handling the clients, being the representative of clients in the agency and the bridge to deliver the messages from agency to the clients, they are also in charge of the whole projects from A to Z as the project leaders.

Structure

Account Manager’s job at Square Event (Illustrated by the author)

Being the project leader is one of the advantages supporting Ms. Thuong as an account manager as she will have an overview and know the project inside out; thus, when clients approaching her for feedback, comments, etc. with aggressive attitude, she knows how to cool them down.

“Clients are our God. It’s true. But not always. Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong” – she pointed out – “But of course clients always know their brands more than we do”. Therefore, she shared that when her clients comment or feedback on their ideas, the first thing she would do is to listen to her clients. “Never say yes or no immediately” – she emphasized – “Simply say that I’ll take your feedback and comments to my team, then we’ll consider whether these ideas are suitable with your brands or the event or not”. If they are right, we will follow them. If they are not, do not say they are wrong, but explain that those comments are not suitable with the values of the events and your brands; therefore, we should follow A B C solutions.

“Actually, I think ‘clients are our God’ depends a lot on the account managers. Even though their feedback is wrong, we still have to show that they are our God and we respect them in every decision. Don’t tell them you are right or wrong. There’s no right or wrong, yes or no in this industry. There are only suitable or not suitable” – She kept repeating this point of view.

What if clients still aggressively thought they are right?
“I’ll tell them that if you think this idea is the best, we’ll follow you, but we’re not sure about the results, and if they are not as we desire to achieve, you can’t blame Square on that. Square always passionately attempt to produce the best events for the clients, give them the most WOW ideas, but still respect every decision of their clients. Moreover, I’ll give them the big picture of how their decision will lead to, so that they can have a clearer expectation of the results”.

TThe response to clients’ request (Illustrated by author)

The response to clients’ request (Illustrated by author)

Solomon (2008, p.105) also agreed that “There is No No in your client vocabulary” and “when an unqualified yes isn’t possible, offer a qualified one: “Here’s what we can do; it’s not a perfect solution, but does it address your need?”. Furthermore, Solomon (2008, p.105) suggested that the agencies should discuss, negotiate, collaborate, solve the problem together with their clients; clients will eventually accept the agencies’ solutions, especially when they have seen your effort. That is the working motto of Ms. Thuong, which has been helping her build and maintain good relationships with the clients.

Giang&Ms.Thuong

Proof of Life photo taken by Ms. Thuong’s co-worker.

Word count: 625 words (not include Title and Captions).

References

Solomon, R 2008, The Art of Client Service, Kaplan Publishing, New York, NY.

 

Perception of client retention from client’s perspectives

Interviewed by Truong Thien Kim Long – s3324490 – Group 1 SGS

Readers know how agency does good to keep clients. It may be objective or subjective based on a writer’s perspectives. Have the readers ever thought of the opposite view? Join this post and imagine, what client thinks of the agency in one case study, presented in an interview.

(Colgate, n.d)

(Wpp, 2007)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An interviewee is Ms Nguyet Minh, Colgate’s Brand Manager. She specializes in FMCG industry and has 9-year working experiences; Ms Minh shows her professionalism and worldly-wise statement through her commitment to Colgate.

(Minh’s facebook, 2012)

“Colgate’s people concentrate on core values: Care – Global Unity – Nonstop Improvement. Minh said, three values are a basis of business strategy since they reflect Colgate’s lifework. Due to these values, its people have grown with Colgate and this is also the reason why Minh has become expert in being Colgate’s brand manager.

Minh gave the case study of Y&R and presented her perspectives about client retention. “Y&R works for Colgate-Palmolive in 4 years; however, there was a campaign, Y&R failed to satisfy us seriously”, said Minh. The campaign presented new Colgate toothpaste in Vietnam market that had the same functions but better quality than a competitor P/S. It was anti tooth decay and gave consumers pure breath, firmer and whiter teeth. Y&R helped Colgate run the campaign and attract customers (Minh 2014).

The problem is mutual communication. Y&R did not understand a brief but no asking at all. No pro-activeness in getting client updated with the campaign that made Colgate feel no more as the client who is buying a service. Y&R dissatisfied Colgate by offering few options and unreasonable rationale for the campaign.  These facts resulted in Y&R’s unprofessionalism, damage to Colgate’s trust and bad reputation (Minh 2014). Y&R also had no understanding of client’s market and insights.

Development of Trust

“Y&R is our long-term partner but the failed campaign destroyed our trust”, said Minh. Sobel (2010) stated Trust is a critical key in client relationships. Client trusts in agency’s capability by doing creative work and everything said must be supported with accurate facts and figures. Product’s image satisfies client’s needs so as to make them trust the agency (Casul 2012).  Solomon (Chapter 3, 2008) asserted the agency must live the client’s brand by being open and seeking new information and insights. You only live your client’s brand when you have research on their brand and product’s insights. You see the brand as yourself that helps you understand it clearly. The way you love yourself is the way you love the brand!

To give and keep Promises  

“Colgate pays for Y&R but we feel we depend on them for helps” (Minh 2014). Lack of pro-activeness and no understanding of the brief caused this fact. Solomon (Chapter 6, 2008) stated the agency must take the brief seriously. It was Y&R’s failure in understanding the brief. A good brief is important to obtain great creative work; if you cannot make yourself an expert on client’s product, you fail to keep promises with them (Solomon, Chapter 9 2008). Deliver what you promise and do not promise what you cannot deliver (Casul 2012). Y&R’s bad performances resulted in no keeping promises with Colgate. No understanding the brief matters since you do not ask anything so we cannot support you; “it is a bad attitude towards your promise”, Minh’s viewpoint.

Quality-Price-Time Triumvirate Model

(Blackboard, 2012)

(Blackboard, 2012)

“Colgate pays a service but Y&R does not assure the quality” said Minh. Casul (2012) asserted the agency should educate clients on quality and price; however, Colgate did this task instead. Minh added, Colgate has to pay additional fees because we want to speed the process up. It is costly to get the quality fast; without additional fees, everything seems slow. “Although we pay fees, it still seems like we do not pay anything for the service” said Minh. This point argues with Casul’s view, you can neither get the work cheap nor fast and it is either not a good quality. Moreover, “you can get good work cheap but it takes a long time” (Casul 2012); Y&R case study pointed a serious problem not to get the work cheap, good and it was a long time, too.

Hence, differences are in comparing communication theories and practices. The problem arose from the agency’s bad performances. Thanks to Minh’s advice, I present recommendations in client retention. Y&R is excellent; however, its local agency fails to satisfy clients and face bad reputation. Solomon thought the agency must get the client involved in the process early (Chapter 18, 2008); the process will be better. The client feels happy because they do not work alone. Additionally, client’s observation helps the agency check the work’s quality. “Y&R should have been proactive in contacting with Colgate during the process”; “quality does matter and we want Y&R assure it for us” (Minh 2014). “Don’t hesitate to ask, this is a way keeping us updated”, shared Minh; “We are willing to answer the questions”. Asking questions makes sure you understand us and go on right track. Without interpreting the brief, it is impossible to start. It is a must to understand the client’s insights and market. Nevertheless, Y&R had little research on Colgate and got briefing wrong. You should live your client’s brand (Solomon 2008), feel it, love it as love yourself then you know to do the best work for your client.

Proof of life: Ms Minh and the author (taken by another person)

Proof of life: Ms Minh and the author (taken by another person)

References

Casul, M, 2012, “Lecture 2: The relationship marketing ladder”, Blackboard materials, pp. 4-6, viewed 5th May 2014.

Minh, P, 2014, Interview for Client Management assessment, 3rd May, 2014.

Sobel, A, 2010, “How strong is your client relationship?”, Blackboard materials, pp. 2-3, viewed 5th May 2014.

Solomon, R, 2008, The art of client service, KAPLAN, NY.

 

How to make your Clients happy?

Written by Do Hoang Duc Anh – s3411694 – G1 (SGS)

On a windy Tuesday night, in the cozy atmosphere of Hard Rock Café where seriously ‘scary’ business men and women gather for a usual networking event, I by chance met a young man in a nice black suit who could easily impress surrounding people with his bright smile. He is Bui Dang Khoa, an account manager of Etihad Airways (a premium airline that offers 5-star luxury service) who has more than five years of client-related working experience in the travel industry.

Image

Figure 1. Reproduced from Hyat 2013.

Seeing him again for the second time, I planned to discuss in more details about how different account management could be between the two fields of travel and marketing. However, the conversation shifted quickly because in spite of the industrial differences, an account manager basically still has to take care of clients and be responsible for the company’s relationship with particular customers. We then ended up discussing the ways to keep clients happy and how to make them stay connected with the company. What I have learned after is so much more than what I expected.

“Dress nicely and remember to keep your Smile. Always.”

“Truth to be told, no one works in this field that does not have a nice-looking face”, Mr. Khoa stated. It is definitely an initial advantage for an account manager to obtain good first impression with the client. To him, we need to care about our appearance and make sure our everyday outfit is neat, comfortable and professional. Moreover, always remember to equip ourselves with a smile: “A smile is a salesman’s best friend”. It will make the atmosphere more relaxing and it is even easier for us to gain the client’s favorite status.

“Clients, believe me, they love to gossip.”

Clients are people after all. They like to talk to people with a wide-range of knowledge, especially in the topics of their interests. Therefore, in order to impress the clients and make them remember us, we need to know what they like and try to learn as much as we can about that subject. Mr. Khoa stated that we don’t need to become an expert on that field, just study enough to have a nice chit chat with them on the issue, like how great is the football match last night or the new cool way to score a nice goal in a Saturday golf game. This reminds me of the idea of ‘feeding our clients well’ proposed by Mr. Quoc Hung, the Media Director from Dentsu Vietnam. He also values the importance of relationship building between account manager and clients as we learn about their daily needs and what they actually like.

“People work with people, people don’t work with organization.”

Keeping close relationship with clients will be a great benefit for us. However, we have all learned that despite how close we are to the client, it will be unethical if we move to a new company, the account also moves with us (Solomon 2008, p. 95). Interestingly, neither agree nor disagree with the idea, Mr. Khoa just simply told me: “To me, it is a fair fight.” In his opinion, it is true we should make the client stay until they finish the contract. But when the contract between the company and the client is expired, that client then has the total freedom to choose who they want to work with next. “People work with people, and of course they prefer to work with whom they like”. In the end, it is a fair fight among sales-men, let the one with the better skills win, regardless it’s the fight against our former company.

Overall, from what I learned after the meeting, being an account manager is a true form of art. Different industry may have slightly different structures and requirements, but excellent account managers always need to be able to manage their clients effectively as well as make sure those clients receive the best service.

Image

Figure 2. Proof of life, photo taken by the interviewee’s co-worker.

Word Count: 660

REFERENCES:

Casul, M 2012, ‘ClientAcVRet Part3:3’, video recording, viewed 31 March 2014,

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJVUIg2E3Oo&index=4&list=PL4A9C080B65632F85&gt;

Hyat, F 2013, ‘Etihad Airways in all Geared to Increase its Munich Route to Twice a Day’, image, customerservice.ae, viewed 3rd May 2014, 

<http://www.customerservice.ae/etihad-airways-in-all-geared-to-increase-its-munich-route-to-twice-a-day&gt;

Solomon, R 2008, The Art of Client Service, Kaplan Publishing, New York, NY.

 

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