Building and maintaining a good client relationship is something that requires fantastic communication, a flexible approach, the ability to listen, and a focus on continual improvement. We asked a selection of our client Account Managers what they think are the keys to building a solid, long-lasting and trusted partnership. Take a look to see what Nick, Lewis, Tony and Kathryn had to say.

Honesty and integrity

“I’d say it’s my job to make the client’s life easier, and to each client that means something different. Not only do you need to deliver everything you’ve promised, but you must also work out how to add value to them specifically. The clients I have the best relationships with value my honest approach. If their rates are below the market standard, for example, and they are missing out on the best candidates, I need to let them know. If they take too long to give feedback on applications, I need to let them know, as some candidates can lose interest if you don’t keep them engaged. This is a two way street though, so I expect my clients to let me know if I can improve too. This way we continue to build the relationship together.”
Kathryn Dawber, Account Manager

The majority of people like and appreciate honesty more than anything, which is why it’s the number 1 trait of being a successful Account Manager. This might seem like an obvious point, but sometimes being honest can lead to a temporarily unhappy client. However, we believe that in the end they will appreciate your honesty and as a result it will make your relationship stronger.

Listen and communicate

“Regular updates are an important part of the Account Managers role. It is important to tell the client when things are going well, as well as if the role is proving difficult. It could be that we need to slightly revise the essential criteria, or we may need more time to fill it. This is all an important part of managing expectations. Some agencies receive roles and then when they struggle to fill them, they don’t communicate for weeks with the client. This can lead to a relationship break down.”
Lewis Trow, Client Development Director

Most recruiters love to talk, but a great Account Manager also listens. Ultimately, the client knows what they’re looking for, so by listening and taking their thoughts on board you can exceed their expectations in finding the right candidates. Communication is vital too, keeping them updated on a jobs progress, even if the role is taking longer to fill. The client will appreciate you keeping them in the loop. Never go quiet, as a client could see this as a red flag.

Have industry knowledge

The more experienced you become in a particular industry, the more you can use that experience to help your clients. Building up valuable market intelligence on the industry can give you a competitive edge helping you to give strategic advice to your clients. Keeping up to date with all your clients’ latest news can also help you to proactively make suggestions as the opportunity arises. Although some information may need to stay confidential, knowledge is power, so use it.

Go the extra mile

“If a client asks for 3 CV’s by the end of the week and you think you can get 3 within a couple of days then why not use the opportunity to exceed expectations?”
Tony Fallows, Account Manager

This point speaks for itself. Everyone, on a professional and personal level appreciates when people go the extra mile, and it’s not much different in being an Account Manager. The chances are that there isn’t just your agency competing to fill the clients vacancies so try and think of something your competitors wouldn’t necessarily do in order to stand out from the crowd.

Build a true partnership

“If we look after our clients, our clients will look after us. We deliver on our promises and we’re always tenacious. We’ve worked with many clients for over 15 years, and as their business has changed, we have needed to change with them. By working in partnership to continuously align with their priorities, we have been able to deliver consistent results and build loyalty.”
Nick Catterall, Client Development Director

Clients see agencies as an extension of their business, so it’s important to be on the same wavelength. Regular communication and reviews can highlight when the company is planning a change, so it’s important to adapt and change with them. Make yourself easily accessible to clients so that they know you are reliable, becoming the first person they call when they have a problem, question or proposal.

Be more than a name on paper

The last key trait is a simple yet crucial one. Make an effort to go out and see your client to catch up in person. This adds value to your relationship as they see you making time to understand their needs and maintain a strong partnership. The personal touch can make all the difference.

Think you’ve got what it takes to be an Account Manager? Let us know your thoughts and join the conversation on our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter!