We report back on the IPA's Client Services Group's recent event for senior account handlers working at IPA member agencies.
Liz Wilson, CEO of CMW and Chair of the Client Services Group, started the evening by sharing details of a research project the group had carried out with market research consultancy Illuminas. The aim was to find out how senior clients from a wide variety of brands, from large corporations to small businesses, value client service.
Among the findings:
- Clients are unclear on what the term 'client services' means in regards to their broader agency team. The term ‘client service’ sometimes doesn’t explain all the aspects of the role (particularly in light of project management).
- Clients want agencies to fully immerse themselves in their business, to know how many units they sold that weekend, what their share price is and to have spent time in their call centre. While not many agencies can spare afford to send staff members on a three month client secondment, there is definitely scope for gaining a greater insight into their clients’ day-to-day and therefore their issues as a business.
- Many clients work with a host of agencies across campaigns and it is increasingly important for agencies to be able to work with, and alongside, each other to create the best work possible for the client.
The full report from the research will be out before the end of the year.
One of the Client Service Group's objectives is to build a community among senior account handlers working at IPA member agencies which can act as a sounding board for shared problems.
The Group hopes to foster this community by setting up a series of dinners throughout 2014 where Client Service Leaders can meet up and discuss any problems they might be facing, prompting a ‘group therapy’ session, and perhaps host speakers around specific topics or issues. The content is intended to be flexible and informal, and all feedback is welcome.
Group member James Denton-Clark, who is MD of Karmarama, told attendees about plans for a Account Handling Recognition Scheme. This aims to celebrate those miracle makers of account handling who are not always credited in creative and effectiveness award schemes.
The Group aim to bring together the best of the discipline for an evening of fine dining and fine conversation with industry luminaries. The scheme is still in the early planning stages and, again, is open to all feedback.
Details of the first dinner are to be announced shortly. For more information, or if CSDs or Head of Account Management are interested in being involved in any of these initiatives, please contact Helen@ipa.co.uk.
Last updated 26/11/2013