Why Your Client Services Team is Important and How Do You Retain Them?
As the UK eases out the pandemic, now feels like a good time to reflect on how difficult the past 18 months have been for domestic and global businesses. Nationwide lockdowns became the norm, hospitality and entertainment industries shut their doors and air travel came to an unforeseen halt. Many of us were forced to work from home and unfortunately, some of us faced redundancy. Account professionals have seen especially tough times over the pandemic. Losing key clients and being unable to secure new business, redundancies in the field skyrocketed.
However, as we enter this post-pandemic, society promises light at the end of the tunnel. Now, businesses are re-adjusting and re-employing. They’re thinking about which job roles are crucial to the flourishing of their business and who are the right people to help rebuild. Because of this, Account Executives, Managers and Directors are coming back into high demand. But how do you attract and retain the best quality accounts team out there?
Typically, accounts professionals have been difficult to retain, and businesses often struggle to hold on to their work force for longer than a 2-year period. There are a few reasons for this. Working on an account can be fulfilling for the first year but eventually employees feel stagnated and start looking for a new role elsewhere.
Also, accounts professionals can feel like they take on more work than their job role requires and so may feel underappreciated in their role. In addition, as these professionals focus on their own specific accounts, working practices can become isolating. I’ve identified three main areas that are key to retaining an outstanding account professional. First, let’s unpick why these individuals are so crucial to the success and growth of any business.
Why accounts teams are so important
I think we can all agree that positive customer experience is crucial to the success of any business. Accounts professionals create an approachable, personable experience for clients which in-turn increases customer satisfaction. Let’s explore some more reasons why accounts professionals are so important.
They support customer retention:
Accounts team professionals are the main port of contact with clients in a business and are therefore at the forefront of supporting and retaining customers. They are essentially in charge of making sure clients are happy and well looked-after which is critical to clients staying with the business. After all, a 5% increase in customer retention can result in a 25% increase in profits, indicating just how important accounts team employees are to a business.
They help to keep clients happy and manage expectations:
A strong account professional will be someone who has excellent communication skills, negotiation skills and understands company and customer perspectives. These roles help prevent communication breakdowns and ensure the client receives the information they want and need. This ensures positive relations between the business and external clients - which is key to any business’ success.
They nurture a positive relationship with the entire team:
Roles within accounts teams are important in making sure the business’ efforts are consistent and communicated across every team. It is up to the accounts team to actively include other members of the client support team (such as sales and marketing) into the business-client relationship. This ensures a strong bond between the client and the business and allows other sectors within the business to understand the client better.
How an excellent accounts team drives growth in a business
Clients are arguably the most important aspect of a functioning business. Therefore, those who manage client-business relations are also of extreme importance. If this process is done to a high standard, accounts teams have the potential to drive the growth of any business. What do accounts professionals do to ensure business growth?
They create long-term business through contract renewals:
The accounts team are vital in ensuring long-term relationships with clients. As repeat customers are more profitable than new clients, when a talented account manager or executive builds a good relationship with a client, this can lead to consistent contract renewals and grow the business.
They manage relationships between the client, sales, and customer support:
The accounts team oversees the relationship between the client, sales, and customer support team. Through navigating relationships, the client has with each sector, the accounts team can get an understanding of what the client might want and need. If a positive client-business relationship is ensured, there is the possibility of recommendations to other potential clients, expanding the businesses clientele.
They grow the original business partnership through upsells and cross-sells:
Through building strong, trustworthy relationships with clients, and through having immaculate negotiation and sales skills, the accounts team have the capability to upsell and cross-sell in a way that is subtle yet effective. This method can lead to increased profits and business exposure.
From the points above, It’s obvious that the perfect accounts team is important in helping a business develop and thrive. Now that we have explored the importance of an excellent accounts professional, we can delve into what Senior Leadership members can do to keep outstanding individuals within accounts team roles.
Ways to retain the best accounts team professionals
Focus on Responsibility:
It’s understandable that accounts professionals thrive when given responsibility. After all, these individuals would have gotten into the role because they can manage effectively and have solid leadership skills. So don’t underestimate your accounts team and give them accountability for the strategic direction of the account they’re in charge of.
Create training development for gaps in knowledge:
Accounts professionals tend to be curious and ambitious. Therefore, to keep them intrigued it would be beneficial to the overall interest of the business to provide opportunity for skills and personal development. If they lack knowledge in strategic direction or the product itself, then this could be an area of skills development offered to them. Alternatively, they could be offered the chance to gain skills in brief writing and presenting.
Creating the space for opportunities to rise within the business is an excellent way of incentivizing employees to work hard and work efficiently. If an employee feels there is little opportunity for change and progress, they are more likely to move on to a different business. This is why it may be a good idea to allow accounts professionals to work on different accounts within the business. Perhaps giving them the chance to shadow senior roles could be a good idea.
In short, having a strong accounts team is a vital aspect of any business’ success. Understanding customer’s needs and enhancing customer retention are high priorities for any business. As such, choosing the right team to handle customers is of equal importance. Even though accounts professionals tend to stay within a business for up to 2 years, there are ways management can incentivize accounts professionals to stay within the company.
Harmonic Operations specialize in placing extremely knowledgeable, experienced, and talented individuals into accounts team roles. We are well versed in selecting professionals who match your requirements in terms of experience, culture, and industry - keeping your business’ reputation strong and customer relations immaculate.
If you’re looking to grow out your accounts team, please get in touch with Tom.email@example.com
Tom Eso and Serena H