How to cope in client services
Working in client services isn’t easy. The world of account management is a dynamic and challenging place. It’s fast-paced, full on and at times can be physically and emotionally demanding.
An account handler is pretty much always on. Always planning, trying to think of everything that needs to happen and anything that could happen. We run things over and over in our heads; Have we missed anything? Did we book the illustrator? Did we reply to that email? Are we going to hit that deadline? Are we going to hit target?
Perhaps the reason for this ‘always on’ mindset, is that most account handlers genuinely care about the work they’re doing. A good AM tends to be the type of person that, no matter who their clients are, they really want to please them. They want their clients to feel happy and to enjoy the experience of working together. And ideally to build a bond and form a relationship that can continue. Because once you have trust you can really push boundaries and make great things happen.
It’s not all caring and sharing. Working in client services places you into so many new, unusual and often unpredictable situations. Sometimes you have to squeeze your brain for all it’s worth to get through a day – exhausting!
And the hardest part of the job, in my opinion, is that sometimes people aren’t nice. The client services team often sits on the front line. So when things go wrong, which of course they sometimes do, it’s usually the account handler that needs to explain, often to people who are not happy. That can be really tough and you can end up taking an emotional beating.
Over the years I’ve collected a couple of tactics that have enabled me to keep sailing through the rocky waters and focus on the most enjoyable aspects of the journey as I go. Little things I like to remind myself when times are more challenging. Some things I’ve learned through experience and some things others have taught me;
Work with others – you’re not an island
I think a lot of people feel that, if you ask for help it’s a sign of weakness. Like an admission that you don’t know how to do something. I spent years trying to fight fires on my own, because I wanted people to perceive me as highly capable. Realistically, this sometimes led to things taking longer than was needed or even getting worse. As soon as I realised I don’t have to have all the answers myself, life got a lot easier.
Gathering the right people to answer the question or help solve the problem takes thought and consideration. It also means you’re likely to get to solutions quickly and effectively. It’s not a sign of weakness.
It’s usually not personal
Sometimes things go wrong and become difficult. Sometimes words can be said or attitudes can change. It can be hard not to take these moments personally. A lot of the time they feel very personal.
It’s really important to remember that we all have insecurities, worries, pressures in life. Sometimes people might be behaving a certain way because they’re stressed about something or even struggling. Behaviour towards you is potentially influenced by factors completely out of your sight, beyond your control. And while that doesn’t excuse rudeness, considering this angle does help to process and move on. Don’t let these things keep you up at night, because that kind of behaviour probably isn’t really about you.
Sometimes account management can be overwhelming, with lots of different people asking for lots of different things. And everyone wants everything right away. When your list is getting bigger and bigger, take a moment to pause and review it. What items on that list absolutely need to be done right away, what can wait until tomorrow. Are there any tasks that you could chat to colleagues or clients about which could give you a little more time and flexibility to deliver them? Ask when people really need things, to help you decide what’s top priority.
And if you can’t manage everything, thats OK, see if anyone can lend you a hand. Don’t let yourself drown, you don’t need to, people are usually happy to help if you communicate and share the situation.
Big up your colleagues
When I was younger I had this desperate need to be the most successful one. It had to be me that was winning and be better than others. I’d often feel uncomfortable if a colleague was being praised, worry that it reflected badly on me, that I wasn’t enough.
My approach now is to champion and support my colleagues and it’s changed the way I feel about work entirely. Helping others to succeed alongside you feels a million times better than winning alone. You can share and enjoy the success of others and also feel proud you played a part in it, to succeed together.
Because this job can be really hard at times. You need to feel interested and enjoy the work you’re doing. If you don’t, then maybe its not the right place for you – there are lots of other places, so try one of those. You don’t owe anyone your happiness. And have fun! Having fun doesn’t have to get in the way of being professional, its just about enjoying moments and finding the humour in things. Laughing is a great way of relieving stress and building bonds with others, so do more of it (when its appropriate).
If you have any questions and want to get further information on this blog please contact firstname.lastname@example.org