I have been on both sides of the table: Being an agency as well as being a client.
When working as an agency, you try to work out your client’s requirement as much as you could. But when it doesn’t work out after delivery, you start to wonder if your client is being too demanding.
When working as a client, you try to give as much information for your agency to work them out. But when it doesn’t look like what you wanted, you start to wonder if your agency is unsuitable to work with.
Sometimes, it is really true that the client could be too demanding or the agency could be unsuitable to work with.
At the end of the day, it is really the close engagement that closes the communication gap and ensure both agency and client happy. That’s also why account servicing personnel is an extremely important role.
1) He ensures that the frequency is the same throughout, instead of fixing it later.
2) He makes sure that miscommunication is kept to the very minimal.
3) He keeps the client happy because he makes sure that things are in progress even though the client is busy with something else.
So far, I see that the best account servicing personnel comes from a person with a strong project management skills. The others who are weak at project management are usually compromised by their strong interpersonal skills though it doesn’t last long.
There is another type of account servicing personnel: i.e. Dealing with the actual designer directly with no specialised account servicing personnel. This can be a double edge sword because on one hand, we will be able to communicate effectively to the designer, but on the other hand, this designer needs to manage the multiple feedback effectively since he or she is doing dual role here.
Lastly, there is a difference in work understanding and culture. There has been expatriates working in different countries. And their work culture is very different from the locals. For example, the Asian clients tends to expect agency with a personal touch to discuss tasks and problems, whereas the Western agencies may value DIY by asking their clients to read their knowledge base by themselves and fix themselves. Another scenario is where the Asian clients will want to meet face-to-face for first time meet up but the Western agencies think that conference call with clients is good enough to close a 6 figure deal.
Image Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture