I know a lot of people who work in client-facing roles at various agencies, and I hear some interesting stories. But the biggest horror story is how commonplace the lack of thought often is on the client end, and what their AE goes through when clients make these crazy requests. There are some clients that believe the agency is in a service role, and that is technically true. But this is a very small, connected industry, and how you treat people affects the level of dedication and work that you get out of your agency team.
I was out recently with four AEs from different agencies for drinks after work -- all cute by the way! -- and I asked them if they would keep a diary for a week. One of them agreed to do it. I agreed that it would be kept strictly confidential, as in "Deep Throat" confidential, as in they would make sure I could never have children if it ever got out, and I would have to hire them if they got fired.
So this is a typical week in the life of an anonymous AE:
Monday, 10:00 a.m.
So, I came into work today to a wonderful Monday morning disaster. You've got to love Mondays. No, this was not a "the client wants their logo bigger" kind of day. The client wanted me to fly out to their headquarters because they were giving a presentation to their senior leadership, and they wanted me to be there to answer any questions. I thought, great, this is a terrific opportunity for me to show the senior leadership of the client -- who I don't usually get to be in front of -- a behind-the-scenes person who helps produce all the great work. Now, you probably think this sounds like a great opportunity, so what's the disaster? Ahhh… the client wanted me there for something that was completely unrelated to anything we had even done for them. This was not her presenting our work, this was her having to do a presentation to her senior management on "social media." You may still think this sounds like a great opportunity until you realize that the PR group within the company has its own agency that supposedly handles social media, and the internal marketing team at the client is trying to carve out some space. Oh well, I am about to lose two days of my life for something that has nothing to do with my job. It's not yet a disaster, but it is definitely a disaster in waiting.
Monday, 4:05 p.m.
Coordinating with an incompetent assistant on the client side regarding travel arrangements for tomorrow night.
Tuesday, 10:12 a.m.
Showed up at work and I already have a panicked message from the client on my voicemail. Why won't they realize that it's easier to contact with me via email? We all have BlackBerrys. I can even answer her if I'm in another meeting. Who checks their voicemail anymore? All I get are annoying sales calls on mine anyway.
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