Client Services / Account Handling
Client Services / Account Handling

The ultimate role of a client services exec (or account handler) is to bridge the relationship between an agency and its clients. This is a multi-faceted and multi-tasking role, suited to someone who can juggle multiple client needs while maneuvering sudden changes of direction in the marketplace. The type of person suited to this is super organised, with an interest in marketing and or business. Business acumen in particular is key to the role, as through your role you will be handling detailed budgets.

People skills are key, as you will be interfacing with many personalities across many companies: clients, internally with team and with your suppliers. Diplomacy is a key attribute— account handlers must work through differences between creative staff and clients, finding the right solution, (while keeping the peace) in the end. Client services managers are also problem solvers who analyze markets and help clients (advertisers) develop business goals for their goods and services.

Also important are curiosity and an interest in new technologies and trends and how they affect a client’s business.

Jane Devitt, Contract Account Director, JWT Folk

Daily role:

Every day is different for client services managers, but routine tasks include updating status reports (contact reports) for clients, receiving creative changes from clients, relaying those changes to creative staff and supervising the account’s finances. Daily responsibilities involve maintaining and growing client relationships, and managing client expectations — for example, keeping the client realistic about timelines for delivering campaigns.

Research is also part of the role: whether a client makes beer or sells mobile services, the manager must become an industry expert. An account manager's day might start with a client meeting to discuss a new mobile app.

Next up: Sending another client a rough cut of a TV ad, getting feedback on the ad, making final changes with the production department and getting it uploaded it with media suppliers for an on-air date. A brainstorming session for a client who wants to increase sales in a specific category might be on the agenda.

Keeping on top of market trends for each client is key: account handlers might be out ‘in the field’ doing a shop walk (recce) to check out clients’ competition, write up their findings and share them with clients.