When advertising executives are faced with this question, there are many traits that are discussed and mentioned. The more common answers include:
- Being constantly involved
- Great communication skills
- The ability to multi-task
- They challenge the client, they are not simply messengers
- Quick on their feet
- Fantastic people skills
- Idea generators
- Have good judgment
- Have integrity
- Have a willingness to learn
- They are client focused
While all of these are important and are elements of what makes a great client service person, the single most important trait that makes a good client service a great client service, is the ability to build trust. Trust is built between people, not between the agency and a client’s brand. The client service person has the ability to build trust and this is what grows the agency-client relationship.
The biggest challenge facing agencies is when great work is overlooked, or not considered as it is seen as too risky or may offend. Instead clients opt for the safe option. Safe never changed the game, never made a brand a market leader nor troubled the market leader much either. Safe is boring. Safe is just that, safe. The great work, which has the potential to make a difference, is risky. Client service people (or at least the great ones) can sell the great risky work to clients, whose trust they have earned through delivering results that build their business and brand over time. This great work is then able to further build the relationship, which can then build more trust and hopefully lead to more great work being selected (as clients can see that agencies have their best interests at heart).
Great work, together with a client who trusts their agency as well as a great client service person can and will grow a brand and an agency’s output of great creative work in the long term.