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Inspired by this book “The hard thing about hard things” by Ben Horowitz (cofounder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, a Silicon Valley-based VC firm that invested in Airbnb, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter; previously cofounder and CEO of Opsware, formerly LoudCloud, which was acquired by HP for $1.6B in 2007) (the book published in Mar 2014 with 655 customer reviews on Amazon) in which Ben shared his training manual on “Good product manager/ Bad product manager”, I thought it would be a great idea to write down my thought on “Good account manager/ Bad account manager” based on my own experience working as a regional account manager/ client relationship manager, and also served as a reminder for myself to always aim for building a long-term client relationships.

Good account managers take full responsibility on the client relationship and communication. Bad account managers don’t have a clear sense of their responsibilities.

Good account managers coordinate with other functions to investigate on the issue and provide solution as fast as possible. Bad account managers try to solve the problem on their own.

Good account managers know who the key contact persons are from top of mind. Bad product managers only search for key contact when the problem comes.

Good account managers communicate clearly and strategically. Bad account managers don’t communicate.

Good account managers know the clients well; have deep understanding about the clients’ business, culture, and expectation. Bad account managers don’t know or have vague knowledge about the clients.

Good account managers are a useful resource; being helpful, offering value and sharing useful information with the clients. Good account managers understand “The more value you offer, the more a client comes to depend on you”. Bad account managers don’t share or offer any additional value.

Good account managers take proactive approach, pick up the phone to call the clients and ask about their issues. Bad account managers sit and wait for the issues to come.

Good account managers are responsive, acknowledge receipt of email immediately, then quickly investigate on the service issues, and provide findings and action plan to the clients within 48 hours. Bad account managers don’t acknowledge receipt of email; don’t provide response within 48 hours, and don’t have a sense of urgency.

Good account manager are honest and build reputation for integrity. Good account managers value trust and open dialogue. Bad account managers ignore the important of candour.

Good account manager eliminate surprises, keep clients in the loop on all developments affecting the project/business initiatives. Good account managers always meet the deadlines committed to the clients. Bad account managers don’t inform clients and always come with surprises.

Good account managers are responsible. They know how service issues badly affect the clients’ business and try their best to rectify the issues and provide a solution in a timely manner. Bad account managers only care about their own benefits.

Good account managers always follow up, asking questions such as “did that work for you” and “how are things going”. Bad account managers do not follow up.

Good account managers define their job and their success. Bad account managers constantly want to be told what to do.

Good account managers have a long-term vision of the partnership. Bad account managers only look at the day-to-day nuances.

Good account managers think of clients as more than just “clients” – identify them as a person and build a personal relationship on a consistent, on-going basis. Bad account managers don’t build rapport.

Good account managers always ask “what could I have done better”. Bad account manager never ask for feedbacks.

Good account managers are passionate about exceeding client expectation, improving customer service and experience, as well as enhancing customer satisfaction and retention. Bad account managers think that it’s just a job.

I’d like to end by this great quote from Steve Jobs: “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”

Please feel free to add to the list.

Published on my LinkedIn profile