Opinion: Do clients need client servicing?

The author explains why the term ‘client servicing’ frustrates him

Apr 16, 2020 06:45:00 AM | Article | Rinesh Jayarathne Share - Share to Facebook

It’s time to reboot. 
Be the account manager who wants to grab a gold at the Effies. Be the account manager who is hungry to get on the stage at Cannes and win a Lion. Be the account manager who inspires a creative team to come up with their greatest work yet. Be the account manager who every single client can believe,trust and depend on. 
With the current global pandemic most of us our working from home, it’s going to be a total
reboot to the entire corporate world once we get back to our offices, and it’s the perfect time for us to approach our job role differently. 
Advertising has changed my life in many ways. From the little boy who wanted to play cricket for Sri Lanka, I have now become the guy who wants to change peoples lives with the power of creativity. However, is that a possibility being in the department I work in? - ‘Servicing’ that’s what they refer to us by.
The term ‘client servicing’, I admit, frustrates me. 
Why? You ask. Well, to me, apart from the poor choice of words, it’s quite a depreciative designation to have on your business card. Let me paint you a picture. You have won a pitch that you’ve been working on for weeks and months and at the first meeting with the CMO you hand out your business card which says, client servicing manager, or even client servicing director. It sets the wrong tone to client. The tone being that you’re tying up for slavery, and do whatever bidding the CMO insists on.
So how do we change this perception of being delivery boy or girl? How do we encourage young talent to be a part of this department? How can we make a difference? Most importantly how do we explain our job to an aunty or uncle that we would meet at a family get together who thinks we do sticker printing.
I’m sure a lot of them would have a different perspective, but here are few things I feel are essential to be different and make a mark being in this department everyone refers to as ‘client servicing’
- It’s an orchestra, be the leader. 
Be the leader of this orchestra. Guide everyone towards the right direction. Help them, show them empathy, motivate them and bring out the best of each and everyone. 
Your orchestra is different, you get people from different mindset’s and backgrounds that’s the beauty of advertising. There’s beauty of us working together and towards one goal.
- Go outside and get your feet Dirty.  
We love being on social media, and spending most of our time at the clients office, If not our office floor. Yes, it’s very important to understand your clients business but it’s more important to understand your consumer. Get into a bus, train and have random conversations. Spend time talking to them, understand their frustrations, what they feel and how you can add value to their life with the advertising you do. 
- Inspiration comes from everywhere.  
Technology is improving day by day and it has helped us a lot by giving access to the most important things we like to read and see. 
Start your day by watching a new case study, share it with your subordinates, make the WhatsApp groups meaningful by sharing inspirational work rather than just fixing meetings. 
- Newspapers and news sites never get old 
Start your day by reading one 
A) You will be aware and better informed of what’s happening around the world 
B) You will be the first to know about your competitor
C) It gives you a lot knowledge 
- Be the alarm to your clients 
Don’t wait till you get a call from a client at 11am asking you for artworks. Call them before you open your emails. Build a solid relationship, ask them about the business problems they are facing, update them on what your team is working on, share the inspiration work with them. Talk to them about your competition.
Clients are the most important asset to us. Win their trust and respect. 
- Be proactive 
Don’t wait for a client brief!
Christmas is on the 25th of December and the date won’t change. 
John Lewis and their creative team starts working on the Christmas TVC from the beginning of the year. Their CPS starts in January. 
Start jamming and brainstorming with your team proactively. Be the rainmaker. Figure out the proactive briefs by yourself and present the work months before the actual date.
(The author works with Leo Burnett Mumbai.)



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