Texting, email and videoconferencing are no match for the relationship building lessons of yesteryear. Being in a service business – and on the account management side no less – I’m often amazed at the poor customer service I regularly receive in my personal life. After a recent experience, I recalled an article that I read in Advertising Age a few years ago. It was a column by Milt Weinstock about what he had learned from advertising great Ed Meyer, the leader of Grey.
In the article, Weinstock outlined 10 lessons to live by in the advertising world, and I related to each one of them and still try to “live” them every day. After all, what better way to teach young talent about the skills they should develop, how they can build a solid client/agency relationship and what separates mediocre account people from the most revered than by setting a good example?
I think the lessons are worth sharing:
- Perform with a sense of urgency.
- Acknowledge the good.
- There’s no such thing as a small client.
- Relationships are our most important asset.
- Share the bad news early.
- Loyalty is long remembered.
- There is no substitute for knowledge.
- Winning is a team effort.
- Recognize that business is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash.
- Being proactive makes you stand out.
What would I add to this list? Two things we regularly stress here at Austin & Williams:
- Don’t be an order taker. It’s our job to question and think about every client request we receive. We need to analyze and make suggestions as we see fit.
- Pick up the phone. I may be old-fashioned, but in my opinion there simply is no better way to develop a business relationship than by picking up the phone and talking. You’d be surprised at what you can learn about your client’s business (and them personally). Receiving a one-line answer to a specific question via email won’t help me identify a current or future need. And scheduling regular face time is even better.
So I ask … what would you add to this list?
Austin Williams is an outcomes-driven full service advertising, marketing, digital and public relations agency, creating ideas that inspire action for clients in healthcare, higher education, financial services, nonprofits and professional services.