Over the last 12 months, I’ve been hosting a number of briefings on behalf of BIMA , championing best practice in the Client Service (CS) profession.
As well as tackling when, and how, to build out a strong CS team, the sessions have also debated the perceived, and real, value of CS within an agency and to clients.
But how do we ensure we maintain that value and enable our peers to maximise their personal and professional potential?
Last week, our latest gathering focused on how we support our teams to be the superstars we want them to be, now and in the future.
Our Q&A identified common challenges in uncovering and unlocking potential, creative approaches to motivating individuals and reaffirmed the importance of putting training and development firmly on the agency investment agenda.
So, what were the take away themes?
A passion for people.
Everyone had a common expectation of what it takes to be a successful CS professional. Curiosity, adaptability, resourcefulness, commerciality, proactivity and a hunger to learn were some of the key traits defined.
But the most important expectation was the ability to foster open and honest relationships with colleagues and clients alike, bound by mutual respect and a shared ambition for success.
A win-win for all.
There really is no one size fits all.
To truly encourage teams to achieve their potential, a recognition of an individual’s learning methodologies, success drivers and sense of reward is vital.
The definition of a ‘superstar’ has many facets.
There is a balance to be had in how to measure the success of CS professionals v’s the alignment to agency culture or the impact on team dynamics.
Commercial success is not the be all and end all.
To be a successful CS professional, what is nature v’s nurture?
As we become more experienced professionals, and are nurtured by those around us, our capabilities become stronger. But for true success to be achieved, it circled back to the inherent need to have an imbedded, natural passion for people. Something that cannot be taught.
People aren’t born managers or trainers.
To engender the teams around us, we must all be aware of our own strengths and weaknesses. As line managers and mentors, it’s vital we adapt and remain open to new approaches in supporting the development of our teams – and have as much passion for them as we do for our clients.
Willing yet not always able.
Everyone had a desire to make things happen and to support their teams to achieve success.
But to do that, managers and mentors need the power to make change happen and, in many organisations, large and small, that capacity is limited.
Investing in people needs buy in.
Defining ROI to secure funding is difficult, but the unanimous feeling was that investing reaped reward in fulfilled employees, a positive agency and team culture and, ultimately, great relationships and happy clients.
Taking small steps internally with in-house service line training or mentoring and buddy systems is a means to get development on the agenda, benchmark the impact and demonstrate you are invested in the wellbeing of your team.
Agencies need to want to make it happen.
It’s out there.
It’s important to offer multiple sources of support internally, be that line management, HR or independent mentors and buddies.
Additionally, peer-to-peer networking and industry events are valuable in keeping development on the agenda and organisations such as BIMA and NABS are sources of national and local support.
There’s still a way to go before CS has a rounded approach to development as a discipline, but the increasing willingness of businesses to support their employees in achieving both their work and personal goals should be applauded.
And as a bunch of professionals with people at the heart of what we do, we should readily embrace it.
Previous BIMA Northwest Client Service events can be viewed at:
Attributing value to CS
Tipping point for developing a CS team
A happy client is a happy agency