“I can’t physically see what Account Managers have done for me or the project” – a client. Well, not a real client, but it’s something every agency has heard countless times.
I mean, it’s sort of true. They don’t give you a beautifully thought-out design. They don’t show you that the mind-boggling code they wrote makes that same design a physical website. You don’t “see” anything – not visually at least.
But if you didn’t have an Account Manager working on your website design and build, you probably wouldn’t have the most structured production journey. What you’d receive might not be much like what you requested, not to mention you’d be the most confused and stressed out client because you had no idea what was going on the whole time.
The many forgotten-about skills of an Account Manager
- Next-level vocal and written ability
- Authoritative stance
- Liaison with clients and staff alike
- Customer service
- Multitasking like a boss
- An eye for detail
Account Managers are there for a reason. They may not give you something you can hold, or something you can see, but they’re a lot more than just a middle man.
Account Managers help to schedule the staff that are working on your site, as well the production teams working on other work too. Like a life-size game of Tetris.
All work is scheduled on a tight regime, and it’s the Account Manager’s job to ensure that your work is being done on time and that each section of the job runs like clockwork. Think of the Account Manager as the cog that keeps the whole production team moving in unison. No one likes it when people are late in delivering work, and the Account Manager ensures this doesn’t happen.
It helps when there is someone on your side. That goes for clients and staff alike. Account Managers should know exactly what the client is after, and though the designers or developers have that in mind, it’s always too easy to deviate and create something that looks brilliant to them, or what they think the user (in their mind) will want to see, that doesn’t necessarily follow the client’s brief.
Likewise, an Account Manager knows that designers don’t just choose pretty colours. Copywriters don’t just write stuff for the sake of it. Developers don’t want to add functionality purely to work longer on the project. Every staff member is there for a reason, and the Account Manager is the mediator between the potential user and client, via the production people.
Your port of call
“I want to talk to the designer so they can explain something to me.”
The production team is there to produce work, but a designer, developer or copywriter may not be solely working on your project. They don’t have time to reply to questions or arrange phone calls. During a complex coding issue or copywriting brainwave, no one wants to be disturbed, and no client would want their work disrupted by another client’s sudden request.
This is where your designated Account Manager steps in like a knight (or… lady-knight? Knight-ess? Why isn’t there a female equivalent of a knight?) in shining armour. Phones answered, questions looked into, progress updates given… your Account Manager is your port of call. They may know more about the given subject than you think, or they can ask the relevant person at a suitable time.
“I’m sorry but I don’t know what skeuomorphism means.”
An added bonus is that Account Managers usually speak in layman’s terms, which, for a non-technologically-minded client, is very good news. Those in this job role generally have basic (or higher) knowledge of all aspects of the production team, as they witness and step in on most stages – but they won’t bother using the jargon because let’s face it, would you if it wasn’t directly your job?
(Skeuomorphism is when a digitally designed concept is made to resemble it’s “real-world” counterpart, in case you, like I, didn’t know – but the designer and developer in the room did.)
Basically, what we’re trying to tell you is that paying for an Account Manager is paying for your job to run smoothly. You’re paying to be in the loop of what’s going on, to be given great customer service, to get a job delivered on time, and to have your opinions and decisions voiced within the project on a daily basis. Your Account Manager is there on behalf of you, making sure you get what you ordered. Hooray.