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e3creative Digital Account Director, Katy White, led a discussion around the tipping point for agencies to invest in a client service team in our Manchester studio during a breakfast event held in collaboration with BIMA.
The tipping point varies per agency without an equation to measure the value client services will bring a business in relation to a number of employees, contracts, revenue or clients, as Katy explained based on her insight of leading account teams over the past decade. When our Managing Director, Jake Welsh, was asked what prompted his decision to prevail client services, he provided a straightforward response: "when we were willing to accept less profit in place of customer experience."
Those in attendance nodded in agreeance with his statement, noting, when production capabilities or performance are put at risk due to an increasing need for communication, there is a clear requirement for client services. Discussions were prompted around the room, spiralling into the following statements.
"When creative people spend too much time away from what they're good at and enjoy doing, everything gets offset. And are the designers and coders working on the account really best placed to have a discussion with the client about their own progress?"
"As a client service executive, we're always having to reaffirm our value to the agency and the client. What we really do is fill gaps and keep relationships stable and that doesn't get recognised until things go haywire."
"When heads of departments and the commercial or operations teams, even managing director, are becoming the primary point of contact for clients, that's a tipping point because their time is better spent elsewhere."
Katy was recently appointed to e3creative and is the process of restructuring our front-line teams, ensuring the agency continues to provide superior service in the midst of our rapid growth period. A hierarchy structure for escalation points have evolved and a clear divide between delivery, business development and client services has been marked. The room nods that this is a step in the right directions, relaying these comments:
"Sometimes it's better to have two heads sitting together [project manager and client services] working intermittently liaising with clients playing ‘bad cop and good cop' with accounts rather than switching responsibilities and wearing two hats."
"When it comes to project management, we just want to focus on the task at hand and delivery quality on time. We don't want to business develop and grow the account or chase invoices. That can be detrimental to our working relationship and, in turn, affect the agreed project scope."
And although there is a clear separation between the roles of teams in the agency, their strengths overlap in many regards, as the attendees further debated over which skillsets are best placed for which team. The overachieving verdict from the group is that teams are best formed with multi-disciplinary, agile and modern recruits, commonly referred to as a t-shaped' or even ‘e-shaped' acting as specialists across various professional remits.
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