We’ve got you covered.
No, this isn’t an Allstate commercial. This is how we want our new clients to feel about working with Gravitate in general, particularly after their first interactions with their account manager. And this is what our long-term client partners believe—we have them covered.
As the client’s day-to-day contact, how do our account managers (AMs) build this trust in a new relationship? There are key tenets of account management that we believe are essential to client relationships; these tenets work in harmony to help establish a solid foundation for trust.
An engaged account manager is inquisitive throughout the entire relationship, wanting to know their clients and their business inside and out. At Gravitate, our client base spans technology and healthcare, education and construction, and just about everything in between. For every new industry we enter and every new client in a familiar field, our AMs seize the opportunity to learn.
We ask a lot of questions, take a lot of notes, then ask more questions. We also want to get to know our new client contact: Are you a phone or email person? How often do you want project status updates? Who are the project stakeholders and what’s your relationship like?
All of these questions help us help you because, at the end of the day, our job is to deliver an incredible digital solution that makes you look like a superstar.
Well, it’s really about how the communication is done versus simply communicating. Communication must be relevant, clear, concise, and timely. Our clients should be provided regular updates on project status, budget tracking, their action items, and due dates as well as the ETA for items the agency needs to deliver.
A stellar AM communicates effectively and stays ahead of the client. It’s a “miss” if a client has to ask for an update because they haven’t received a response within a reasonable time period.
While we all have our own little systems to organize client information and schedules, I personally have multiple “to do” lists and four different calendars within line of sight. Can you say “Type-A”? Most client relations professionals I know are “list people” and planners and for good reason. At Gravitate, our AMs wear the additional hat of project manager, meaning we work closely with the internal producers to keep the client projects on time, on budget, and on strategy.
There is always a lot to stay on top of, making sure nothing slips through the cracks. To do the job successfully and stay in the good graces of the team and the client, AMs must have all their ducks in a row, hence, a lot of running “to do” lists, open calendars, and often an intricate folder labeling system.
Accountability refers to being honest and accepting (or uncovering) responsibility for any mishaps and changes along the project journey. This is very different from throwing someone under the bus. It means taking ownership, having direct conversations with the team and the client, and clearly explaining the “why” or the “how”—why a client request is out of scope or how a deliverable got off track and is delayed and the proposed solution.
Timing is a big factor: the sooner you can identify and communicate the issue and the solution, the better. We know it’s disappointing when there’s a setback, but if it’s communicated properly and includes a proposed solution, often the blow lands more softly.
When these four account management tenets come together, I would bet that your AM has you and your project covered. There’s a lot that goes into building a solid and long-lasting client/agency relationship. Having a skilled AM on your side is just the beginning. What does your AM do for you that makes your life easier?