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Archive for the category “Emotional Intelligence”

“Do more than is required”- exceeding the client’s expectation

Interviewed by Nguyen Anh Sang, s3449962, G1 (SGS)

 

The great thing about ”Do more than is required” is that it is always moving forward. When it is applied, the effectiveness of work will be pushed further. This is interesting because it is not only an ordinary thing to do but also an important point that people have to bear in mind when working with clients. Can you make the clients appreciate your skills, products or services? How can you make your clients happier than the day before?

To answer those questions, I had a chance to interview Nguyen Thien Lam, Account manager of Saigon Live Media. He had over 6 years experiences in this field and worked with many clients such as: Enchanter, Techcombank, Nutifood  and some agencies such as: My share, Dentsu and Satchii and so on. Thus, he is a live dictionary to learn many things from.

Why “Do more than is required” is so important in client management?

“I think that this ideal is a lodestar for everyone working with client. It’s simply because if you can accomplish your work and show more work to the client, it is the way to impress the client what you are capable of as well as set the bar so high that other competitor cannot duplicate the thing you do and the service you give”, Mr Lam said. Surprising clients by exceeding their expectation is a good way to ensure that they will come back in the future. He added.

Besides, he advised that showing what you know about the client’ needs or problems or the competitors will make your client amazed and believe that you will be able to do more than they require. According to Solomon (2008), before telling the client’ needs, tell them what you know . Thus, Lam’s advice is very useful for working with client.

How to exceed the client’s expectation?

“ The very first thing I do is inviting my client to the coffee shop. I want to create a friendly environment so that I can find more about their needs and do something that they won’t expect. Sometimes, their needs are impossible to serve. At that moment, just try to complete their plan.”

Figure 1: Reproduced from Ramesh (n.d.)

Figure 1: Reproduced from Ramesh (n.d.)

He also shared an experience to make clients” Wow”. He used to work with Enchanter which was a sponsor of a television program. After completing the client’s plan, he did something more by holding an event for Enchanter. After that event, more than fifty articles were written about Enchanter. Thus, his client was so happy and decided to give the sponsorship for six months, instead of three months as planned.

Moreover, he suggested that people should try to be an expert in their field in order to make clients happy. And when clients are happy, you will satisfy and maybe exceed their expectation.  It is simply because the more knowledge you have, the more professional you are when working with clients as it can save time for clients on looking things up. When you become an expert in your field, you are on the level which enhances and keeps a good relationship with clients (Casul 2014).

The final question I asked him is: “What certain attitude do you think that is needed when working with clients?”

“I am transparent, empathize and I am a good listener”. He quickly answered the question.

Figure 2: Mr Thien Lam, account manager of Saigon Live Media and me

 

Put yourself in the client’s shoes and ask: “How would I like to be treated? and then find out the most effective way to do that.” is the lesson I have learnt from the interviewee.

 

Word count: 590

References:

Casul, M 2013, “Client Retention”, lecture inCOMM2384 Client Management, RMIT University, Vietnam, viewed 4 May 2014, Blackboard@RMIT

Ramesh, P n.d., image, Client’s expectation, n.d., viewed 4 May 2014,<http://www.buzzbinpadillacrt.com/how-to-get-the-best-out-of-your-pr-agency/&gt;

Solomon, R 2008, “The art of client service”, Kaplan, New York

 

 

“Excuse me, Mr.Client, but I have a better offer”

Written by Thinh Dat Duong – s3411886. Group 1 – SGS campus

 

Mr. Leon Shears is currently in charge of the marketing department of Grant Thornton, the world’s 6th biggest professional service firm, they provideassurance, tax and advisory services to privately held businesses, public interest entities, and public sector entities. With experience in the industry, he has shared his insight about client acquisition as well as client retention.

On client acquisition and retention

Client acquisition is the most important because without client, you have no business. But retention is obviously important. The cost of acquisition is very high. Achieving a new client takes a lot of time, a lot of preparation, a lot of men management and discussion, communication until you get that new client. Once you have that new client, you have to make sure your service is good, you provide exactly what he wants the way he wants it, to make sure when you ask him to come to sign the contract next year and he would say “Of course”. It should be a seamless transition from one year to the next.

You have to find out what the client wants. Quite often, the client will not know exactly what he wants, he thinks there is a problem, he thinks there is something going on that he wants to solve. It’s the supplier’s responsibility to extract and ask the questions, keep asking questions: “Do you think this is where the problem lies?” so the client, not only tell the supplier what is the problem, but the client feels comfortable, satisfied that he has explained the problem properly.

“The extra you do will show the interest you have with the client’s business”, he said.

He mentioned an example of the extra. You’ve got 2 warehouses. Both of them have 5 members of staff, and both are about 40% full. In a regular audit, you would say you’ve got 2 warehouses, exact number, exact staff. Tick. Correct. That’s what you’ve told me, that’s what I can see. Perfect. But wouldn’t it be sensible for the audit to say, “Excuse me Mr.Client, there are 2 warehouses, with each only 5 employees and only 40% full, you could perhaps take the goods out of this warehouse, out them into that warehouse, and that one will be 80% full. You still got the flexibility. And you can have the entire building, which you can either sell, leased for money, or you can knock down, build something else”.

It’s about getting involved in the business. You’re no longer a client supplier, you get to build a team. ‘If you don’t pay attention to building a strong relationship with your client, you run the risk of being shown the door, no matter how terrific the work’ (Solomon 2008, p.97).

Communication with client

One of the most important aspects of a client-supplier relationship is communication, by getting to know each other. (Reproduced from adrianejolly.com)

One of the most important aspects of a client-supplier relationship is communication, by getting to know each other. (Reproduced from adrianejolly.com)

The secret of any relationship is communication. The only reason you argue with your mother is because she does not understand you, ad you don’t understand her. The reason you argue with your girlfriend, is because you’ve said something, and she has taken it a different way what you meant.

Know what you want to say, so you really know yourself. You want to know who you’re saying it to, and get to know them as the best you can. You want to know the language they understand (the sort of words you can use). And of course, the channel that you use to communicate, is it verbal, written, pictures, tvc, a movie, a book?

Put yourself in the other person’s shoe. What do you want to hear from the supplier when you buy a motorbike? Are you interested in it has 125cc engine? Not really. Are you interested that it has double coil suspension? Maybe, maybe not. Are you interested that it can run 100 miles on a gallon? Yes. That’s important, that affects my pocket. Is it important that the brakes are double-disks? Yes. That’s my safety.

“The manufacturer/supplier must always know what the client wants to hear”, he concluded.

Word Count: 658

The author and Mr. Leon Shears from Grant Thornton. (Photo taken by the hotel’s receptionist)

The author and Mr. Leon Shears from Grant Thornton. (Photo taken by the hotel’s receptionist)

 

References:

Solomon, R 2008, The art of client service: 58 things every advertising and marketing professional should know, Kaplan publishing, viewed 28th April 2014

Image references:

Adriane Jolly 2013, ‘Improving communication with prospects and customers’, viewed April 30th 2014, < http://adrianejolly.com/improving-communication-with-prospects-and-customers/&gt;

Make your clients better clients

We often heard of EQ as a tool that helps us do well at our jobs. But little did we know that by having high EQ ourselves, we can help people excel at their jobs as well.

– feature article by Dinh Vu Bao Hoa

Emotional Intelligence indicates our ability to understand and regulate our emotions and that of others (Stein & Book 2006). My interview with Ms Thien Tam, a PR executive at AVC Edelman, has shown how client managers can use EQ to help clients become better clients. AVC Edelman has had great experience working with international clients in Vietnam over the last decade.

EQ has five main components, but I’m focusing on the two most important ones when dealing with clients: empathy and social skills.

Figure 1. My interview with Ms Thien Tam. Photo by author (2013)

Figure 1. My interview with Ms Thien Tam. Photo by author (2013)

Here’s the situation: ‘Some clients are dumb…’

An agency will be lucky if a client comes to them and says: ‘I want you to do these things for me!’ and then enumerates the things they want to be done. Those clients know what they want. Some don’t, and they will give you a miserable time trying to figure them out.

‘If they don’t like our work they will just say, ‘This is not good enough’, or ‘I don’t like it.’ They never tell us the reasons why. We have to revise our proposal based on that general feedback,’ Ms Tam shares.

‘And they will complain if we still don’t ‘get it’ after a few times editing the draft. We have to be very sensible on that.’

‘Empathy is to intuitively understand what your client wants’

Figure 2. Reproduced from: Lover 2013

Figure 2. Reproduced from: Lover 2013

To be ‘sensible’ is to have empathy for your client’s feelings – to ‘read’ their feelings (Goleman 1998). As you listen closely to their comments, with empathy you will get a sense of the underlying motive of those empty words.

Once you have understood what they want, seize the opportunity to educate your client about the industry.

Let’s take an example: In the communication industry, for one campaign we often have different groups of target public. But for clients, ‘students’ and ‘staff’ are just ‘everyone’. And when they say they want to target ‘everyone’, they can’t imagine how hard and ineffective it would be to create the ‘one size fits all’ tactics.

Our job is to make them aware of such risk. Listen to them, feel their words, translate them into our language and teach them that language. They will thank you later for that.

‘But how are we going to persuade them if they are stubborn?’ you asked. Well…

Use your social skills

Despite not having clear directions, clients often keep their expectations up high. When endless requirements keep falling on your head, the best thing you can do is to use your expertise, knowledge, and social skills to lower client’s expectations.

Show them that you have done thorough research on their brand and their strategy, and that your proposed plan compliments those elements. Find a gentle way to tell your client: ‘Your brand’s nature is this way so we plan it for you this way’. Or better yet, prevent them from complaining too much by allowing them to give feedback only three times.

And that’s how you make your clients do what you want instead of following their words to every little detail. ‘Sounds easy huh? But it takes real skills to persuade clients, skills that only experienced client managers possess,’ Ms Tam expresses.

In short, what clients want is not as important as what they need (Hughes, Patterson & Terrell 2012). We are experts in the field, we know which direction they should go. Future client managers, express your expertise in a way that clients have to obey you and let you do what you want. Because having high EQ is not only to help us reach our destinations but also to help others reach theirs.

Figure 3. Reproduced from: Broider 2013

Figure 3. Reproduced from: Broider 2013

(Word count: 595)

References:

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

Hughes, M, Patterson, LB & Terrell, JB 2012, Emotional Intelligence in Action: Training and Coaching activities for leaders, managers and teams, 2nd edn, Pfeiffer, San Francisco.

Stein, SJ & Book HE 2006, Emotional Intelligence and your success, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.

Tam, T 2013, interview, 20 December 2013.

Image references:

Lover, BCC 2013, ‘Empathy’, Pinterest, viewed 9 January 2014, <http://www.pinterest.com/pin/26810560254310185/>

Broider, T 2013, ‘Dear client’, Pinterest, viewed 9 January 2014, <http://www.pinterest.com/pin/184577284700035131/>

Company’s brand or… personal brand?


Author: Hoang Thi Tra My

Snumber: s3393385

To survive in business competitions, let alone thrive, you must sell personal branding first, and then company’s brand and services.

As you are a rookie with a small network of colleagues, clients and consumers, industry is a fierce battlefield for you. Thus, you need an exclusive weapon to defeat a thousand of enemies. It called personal branding. In the article “The brand called you”, Peter (1997) claims that personal branding describes who you are and make you different from your competitors. It is built by your own powers which are characteristics, intelligence and knowledge. Linking to client management, personal branding is often used as word – of – mouth sell to attract clients and make them remember you at the first meeting, then your company.

So, how do we practice personal branding in a right way? The question is solved in my interview with Ms. Phan, she friendly shares her own experience of building long – term relationships with client by applying personal branding.

Image

Figure 1: Ms. Phan Bich Ngoc (left) . Photo taken by the author (2013)

Ms. Phan Bich Ngoc is a 16 – years – experienced sale managers in Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) – a science – led global Healthcare and Medicines Company (GSK 2013). Although it is reputed brand in the world, it appears in Vietnam for only 18 years. GSK needs to enhance the awareness of its brand among Vietnamese people through doctors. Therefore, her mission is to introduce GSK pharmaceuticals to Vietnamese doctors and build a strong relationship with them.

According to Payne et al (1998) (cited in Little & Marandi 2003), building client relationship is a process as we climb a ladder. This includes three major phases which are prospect, developing and establish. In developing phase, client managers will demonstrate the distinctive and needed products and its benefits to client (Little & Marandi 2003). This mostly depends on the quality of goods. In contrast, prospective phase need communication skills and personal branding to catch clients; and establish is to maintain the relationship by offering much higher rewards.

Agreeing with ladder concept, Ms. Phan states that establish is a main mission; but for her, prospect phase is most important to create a satisfied impression to client. “I think the most challenge is client catching. In the first meeting, I must ensure that I create interest and attraction when I sell who I am. This makes doctors intend to talk with me every next times. Therefore, I have chance to introduce pharmaceuticals and its advances” she said.

She continually shares her experiences to build strong relationships with client through personal branding.

You are the face of the company

In very early times, clients do not know about company’s brand or product quality; however, they know client managers who communicate with them firstly. So, managers’ performance represents their companies. If clients are lured by them, they will appreciate the companies. “Clients can like your voices, your characteristics or even your smile; so you have to maintain your image because you are the face of the company” Ms. Phan assumed. This tip is for prospect step.

Remember your clients are human beings

Going to the highest steps, the clients need higher rewards. Ms. Phan claims that the rewards may not necessarily profit; it can be care.  She explains that although GSK do not have much incentive for doctors, she concerns little things in their daily lives such as birthday cards and New Year messages. All of small care makes them be happy because they are human beings. As a result, to maintain a close relationship, client managers have to treat their clients as similar as their lovers.

(596 words)

References:

GSK 2013, ‘Vietnam’, posted 6 August, viewed 30th December 2013, <http://www.gsk.com/worldwide/vietnam.html>.

Little .E & Marandi .E 2003, Relationship marketing management, Thomson Learning, London.

Peters .T 1997, ‘The brand called you’, Fast Company, 31 August, viewed 30th December 2013, <http://www.fastcompany.com/28905/brand-called-you>.

Phan, Bich Ngoc 2013, interview, 21st December 2013.

How hard it takes to say NO to your clients?

Among 12 weeks of lectures, I found that CRM – Customer Relationship Management was the most interesting topic to me. Honestly, at first I thought “Dealing with customers is a boring job to do, because customers change their mind constantly, they obviously know nothing about the field that you’re sort of an expert in and they still keep on acting like they are full with skills and you’re a dork”. However, I found that building and maintaining customer relationship is an art which I have potential and also desire in. There are certain steps to build a strong customer relationship which are acquisition, profiling and segmentation, personal offers and tracking. Besides that, certain essences which contribute in maintaining customer relationship are attracting the right customers by market segmentation, retaining the customers through satisfaction with service delivery experiences and enhancing customer value through relationships by value-adding. Furthermore, getting in the mind of the customers is the key to win. Therefore, I had an interview with Mr. Ho Hoan Vu – current senior social media specialist at EdgeAsia. According to EdgeAsia (2013), EdgeAsia is the first South East Asian Digital Advertising Network with an Asian soul, a full-service digital marketing solutions provider, specializing in planning, creating, measuring and analyzing online marketing programs with more than 200 offices in 90 countries. Furthermore, the amount of workload and experiences working in the firm is just enough for what I desire to find out for my topic. On the other hand, he has 4 years of experiences in building and maintaining relationship with customers since he has found his longingness in the customer field no matter which position he’s in, his first job was a senior account executive at MiR Activation in 2009.

In his work life, Mr. Ho Hoan Vu has been cooperating with various types of clients, whether they are a small company or a big corporation. Therefore, I asked him what was it like when dealing with customers? Not surprisingly, he answered “Well, sometimes kissing up your customers will get you everything. Other times, it gets you nothing. Therefore, you must have different ways to deal with different customers. It gets harder when you work for the Account department and you are in a situation where you have to stand between your client and the other department in the company.” Then he gave me an example to illustrate, he once worked with Bel Viet Nam as an agency, Bel VN requested a design for their up-coming project and they kept on denying and saying bad things about the design came from the Creative department. Then, he just couldn’t come back to his company and say exactly the same thing with what the client has told him, he had to translate it to another phrase, making it easier to listen and receive feedback for the Creative department so they wouldn’t be demotivated and could moving on creating another artwork. “There is no No in client’s vocabulary” (Solomon 2008, p. 105), I asked him about this and he confirmed me with a biggest YES I’ve ever seen.

Figure 1. You can't just simply say no to your clients. Photo by author

Figure 1. You can’t just simply say NO to your clients. Photo by author

However, he states that we just can’t always say yes yes yes to our client, there’s always a safe-zone for our agency. We should always know our limitations because if we don’t, client will ask for too much, they will go beyond our capability. To support for this argument, V. Kumar and Reinartz W. (2011) clearly indicates that there are other ways rather than saying No to your client. Additionally to that, Mr. Ho Hoan Vu states that your client is always “fragile”; therefore, they cannot accept a “No”. Moreover, we must come up with how to deny a client in a more “gentle” way if we think that we cannot help them this time but make sure that if they have other needs or difficulties, they will think of us first, that’s what matters the most, according to Mr. Ho Hoan Vu. As Benjamin Franklin once said “Honesty is the best policy”, don’t wait around until your client asks you about the task, deny them gently if you cannot finish the task in order to keep them coming back to your agency and otherwise you would not want to burn the bridges because in the PR/Advertising industry, nobody cares about how great you have worked so far, but if you make one mistake, just one mistake, the whole world will aware and your reputation will go down the tube, so you might want to be more careful on every move you make.

Figure 2. There are various ways of saying NO gently. Reproduced from FreshDesk Blog (2013)

In conclusion, the interview I have conducted with Mr. Ho Hoan Vu seems to bring me a little more experiences in the keeping relationship with clients. However, some information is what he said based on his working experiences; it might not be suitable for all cases. But look on the bright side, you can still take it into consideration when dealing with clients because there are various types of clients out there. Some are nice, others are evils, they always want to get more for less price and they will push your agency to the edge to satisfy their needs and wants. Therefore, learning how to deny your clients is the most significant experience to have. Furthermore, building and maintaining relationship with clients is not easy as taking candy from a child, it’s an art of communication to satisfy them or to deny them with the guarantee that they will come back for more and you must always balance between your clients and your firm/agency.

Word Count: 921

Figure 3. PROOF OF LIFE. Photo by author

References
EdgeAsia (2013), Who We Are, http://www.edge-asia.com/who-we-are.html , viewed 27th August 2013.
Solomon R. (2008), ‘The Art of Client Service’, published by Kaplan, New York, pp.105, viewed 2nd September 2013.
Solomon R. (2008), ‘The Art of Client Service’, published by Kaplan, New York, pp.108, viewed 2nd September 2013.
V. Kumar & Reinartz W. (2011), ‘Customer Relationship Management – Concept, Strategy and Tools’, 2nd edition, published by Springer, viewed 30th August 2013.

IQ? Yes but not enough!

George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Wilson Reagan are among most influential presidents of United States. During their term of office, these men contributed to bringing the United States to the world and made it matter. One of the factors bringing this accomplishment is their ability to deal with a myriad of stakeholders from the White house’ staff to American citizens, international journalists, important people from other countries. In order to possess such an ability, what is their secret?

Cleverness seems to be a logical answer. Yet, surprisingly, Reagan, Washington and Kennedy with the IQ of 105, 118 and 119 respectively are only categorized as high average in IQ scale, which is not high compared to those of other leaders. If it is not IQ, what makes them so great in dealing with people?

In 1995, Goleman, with the introduction of the concept Emotional Quotient (EQ), has provided the clue to the question.

What is EQ?

Emotional Quotient (or Emotional Intelligence) is ‘being intelligent about your emotions’. It involves the ability to recognize, understand and manage your own emotions as well as the emotions of others (Stein 2009).  The key difference between IQ (Intelligent Quotient) and EQ is the ability to learn, make sense of and utilize the understanding of information and the understanding of emotion (Wisegeek 2012). According to Goleman (1998), there are five elements of EQ including self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

Why EQ matters?

According to Goleman (1998), EQ is proved to be 3 times more important than IQ. He found out that EQ is a deciding ingredient of excellent performance, making an individual standing from others who share the same intellect level and cognitive skills. Furthermore, test suggested that EQ is also an element making the distinction between different levels of position within a company. In other words, the higher position one owns, the higher EQ he/she possesses. These are tested facts that Goleman got from a number of experiments, which were conducted quite a long time ago and in a different environment compared to what we are now in.

In order to understand the fundamentality of EQ in Vietnam, I had a conversation with Ms. Loan Tran, public relationship senior executive of Integration Vietnam, a communication agency. Tran is a graduate of the University of Social Science and Humanities where she received no official training in the field of communication, particularly PR and Advertising. It is experience that she gained from working for communication agencies such as ABC Communications, Venus Communications, LOWE that brings her to the current position. As a PR senior executive, she has to deal with a number of accounts, work with people from different industries, backgrounds while also collaborating with internal staff. When asked about the importance of EQ in her job, ‘That’s what keep us survive’, she said.

Image

Author and Ms. Loan Tran (right)

 Know who to know what

 ‘Being a PR practitioner means that you have to be the hyphen between your client and the internal staff, and try to help them achieve the win-win situation in which both parties are happy with the decision. Problems come when you have to deal with different clients from different backgrounds, with different perspectives, ideologies, tastes and, as a result different types of requirements and ideas. The clients are persistent on their ideas and so does the creative staff.’ It sounds stressful and challenging but according to Tran, this is a typical and usual situation that PR practitioners face and this is where EQ is needed. About the solution, Tran believed ‘it is essential to give yourself some time to determine who you are, where you are and who you are dealing with so as not to be lost in a mess of relationships’. Being aware of and understand the position and stance of a person and the one he/she is interacting with in a certain relationship can allow determining appropriate communication tactics and interaction models. For example, when dealing with such client as bank, we have to be careful not letting them lead us to interest or sales involving tactics and try to get across the idea that PR is more about reputation. Meanwhile, when coming back to deliver the client’s brief to creative people, we should show respect for their creative efforts and artistic ideas while constantly remind them of the deadline, which they are not so good at managing.

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Know who you are dealing with for using appropriate communication tactics (Stein 2009)

A minor gesture can bring a huge difference

In a relationship where parties do not share same backgrounds, values or beliefs, conflict can potentially arise. Being in the middle of different relationships, it is understandable that a PR practitioner may find him/herself stressed and frustrated. ‘There are cases where PR practitioners receive complaints from the clients that the product is not good enough and afterwards listening to critiques from internal staff that the client has no idea about anything. No matter how bad you want to shout to all of them with anger, dissatisfaction and disappointment, keep it inside. A smile at this point can bring more than what you can expect. A smile at the client with a promise to get it fixed will make them feel respected and comprehended. Another supportive smile at the creative team can encourage them to think over and re-work on the product.’ That is how EQ, particularly can also influence and manage other’s emotion.

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Bar-on model of Emotional Intelligence (Multi-Health Systems, n.d cited in Stein 2009)

Experience, explore and exert

Playing such an important role in deciding the success of PR practitioners, EQ is worth investing and improving as an essential effort to move on in the career path. According to Tran, experience is the key to improve one’s EQ: ‘The more you experience, the more you can explore about yourself and get to know about others and develop empathy’. Experience can come in the form of critiques so ‘be calm and open to critiques. That’s what makes us mature in the job. You can always learn something with them whether it be improvements in products, skills and responses to coming challenges’, she said.

Tran also added: ‘What so good about PR practitioner is that you are able work with a lot of people from various backgrounds. Dealing with a new account means that you are involved in a new exploration. That’s how a PR practitioner can keep herself refreshed and motivated all the time. Exert yourself in explorations and don’t forget to include EQ in your package. It will keep you survive!’

Wordcount: 1069

References

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

Hugh, M & Terrell, JB 2012, Emotional Intelligence in Action: Training and Coaching activities for leaders, managers and teams, 2nd edn, Pfieffer, San Francissco.

Stein, SJ 2009, Emotional Intelligence for Dummies, 1st edn, Wiley, UK.

Tran, L 2012, interview, 31 August 2012.

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.

 Image

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.

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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.”

 Image

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

References:

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›  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, < http://adsoftheworld.com/media/print/optica_caroni_happy>

›  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, < http://adsoftheworld.com/media/print/vtrcom_unlimited_minutes_plan_political>

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

La Vinh Mau – Do not lose yourself in doing business

That is a sharing of Mr. La Vinh Mau – General Director of Minh Tuong Paint Company, a talented, sophisticated entrepreneur with great passion for arts.

When asking about his business, Mr. La flashed his bright smile when sharing “the fact that I do not want to talk much about work. You are good, there’s someone better than you out there. You success, there’s surely a more successful people than you. I talk about my life’s work, some people like, some people do not. In this difficulty economy, maintain a normal work during this time was a success.”

     Although Minh Tuong Paint Company has been established from2002, La Vinh Mau has more than 25 years’ experience in doing his business and of course, with a large amount of clients, Minh Tuong Paint had become one of the pioneers on importing paint products for industry purposes which has long been dependent on foreign company technologies.  Besides, the success of Minh Tuong today can be seen as a result from the “harmony” of Mr. La and his wife. While he takes over the technical problems and production, his wife assumes sales business. Their combination seems to not only success in doing business but also in the real life as husband and wife. Some of Mr.La’s friends said that “his fidelity to his wife seem to make much more girl want to pursue him.”

About the headline, there’s absolutely a connection with this article. With more than 25 years working and dealing with clients, La Vinh Mau absolutely met some of beautiful girls as his clients. When asking about has he ever fall in love with one of them, La Vinh Mau shared “I’m a man, so, when looking at a beautiful girl, I will absolutely be attracted. But one thing for sure, I can realize what is this limit. I mean sometimes I meet someone, I think I really like them, but I will wonder that whether they are try to get a relationship with me for doing business or they really want me,” La Vinh Mau laughed so much when sharing his experience about what they call “love in business” nowadays.

“Almost faults in business have a little bit influences from women,” said Mr.La. As many people recognize that work and love are two separate things in life. But in the workplace, few people build personal relationships with clients which breach the ethics and causes some impacts to common tasks and vice versa. “When doing business, the join of love can lead to some unexpected results. Actually in my life, I have never been in this difficult situation but some of my friends do. The worst result of this action might be the wrong decision because at this time, your decision has been made by your feeling, not by your mind.” said Mr. La.

Mr. La has shared some of his experiences that nowadays in entrepreneurship; the powerful people might be the one who can decide whether your works will success or not. They use money for doing two main things: to PR for their brand and to enjoy life by some bad actions (which means, some people do business by illegal way, they get a success by using their beauty). And because it happens a lot in the society, so it leads to the wrong perception from the people around us about business. Not everyone do this for getting the success of their work. “Of course, there’s exception, love actually incurred in the process of working but I think it’s rarely happen,” Mr. La laughed.

“One of the reasons that I try to avoid this in my work is because an image of a director is very important. My image is my company’s image as well. If the one who represent for all employees’ interest has a bad image, it also means that I lose their trust. As you know, trust is the most important foundation for every relationship. Once it broke, it will be hard to recreate it. Therefore, my decisions should base on the benefits of a company,” La Vinh Mau spoke with pride when sharing his experience in dealing with difficult situations.

He’s also give some advices for the young generation today that the success built base on your own ability will stay longer than the one which grown by illegal action. “You are young and enthusiastic, some challenges or failures will make your life more interesting than ever. Remember, no one can force you to do anything, it is your own decisions. Don’t lose yourself in doing business,” La Vinh Mau shared.

Another advice came from Mr. La is about how to maintain the relationship with your client. As he continued, “with every client, you should try to find something unique from them in order to remember exactly who they are. In your career, you will meet many people, some of them will cooperate with you for a short time, and the other will do in long term work. Therefore, in every relationship, no matter it is new or old; it should be respect as their support.”

When talking about his life, Mr.La has shared that “entrepreneur is the loneliest people in the word”. The idea is that in doing business, sometimes it’s hard to have secrets revealed. “Even though I had a successful career, the demand of sharing is always necessary. Sometimes when the loneliness can’t be speaking by words, I go to find arts. With me, art is a timeless share, a friend always on your side. I think people are correlated with the arts. When someone has success in doing their business, it also means that they have an artistic expression,” Mr.La smile when sharing his secret to deal with his busy and stressful schedule. And with Mr. La, playing piano is one of his talent and also the way he uses to release his stress!

Proof of life:

Word count: 1008

Ho Chi Minh City 10 May 2012

Posted by Tran My Trang

Reference:

Solomon, R 2008, The art of client service, 2nd edn, Kaplan, New York.

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