Friday, February 24, 2012

Book Review: The Art of Client Service By Robert Solomon

The premise:
Being an account person at an ad agency is one of the most difficult, thankless jobs around. But it’s also one of the most important. And, to top it off, there isn’t any one way to do it right, but there are plenty of ways to get it wrong. Mr. Solomon uses his extensive experience as a guide for anyone looking to better their relationships with their clients.

The good:
Mr. Solomon covers a wide swath of the day-to-day challenges that may arise throughout the career of an account person, and there were plenty of times where I found myself nodding in agreement or shaking my head in disbelief at a familiar situation. He also breaks his advice down into short chapters, which allows the book to be used as a sort of field guide as needs arise. The most important point, in my opinion, was to ask the question, “so what?”

The bad:
The author could stand to dial the ego back a bit—at the end of the day, it’s still just advertising we’re talking about. I’m referring specifically to the guest intro and then two additional intros by the author himself. And he recommends one of his other books as one of the essential books to read. Almost made me question the author’s credibility.

The verdict:
Buy it as a gift for a person just starting out or a mid-level account executive, who might appreciate the advice of someone who’s been there before.

Recently I was checking my credit card statement and was shocked to find an exorbitant charge from a restaurant I visit infrequently. I dug through my records and, sure enough, I had been overcharged to a ridiculous degree. Now, in all truth, my first reaction was that the server had been trying to steal from me. But the amount was so outrageous—more than the entire dinner—that I realized that they must have mistaken the total for the tip and, after some quick math, it became apparent that it was an honest mistake. So I went to the restaurant and asked to speak with the manager. When she appeared, she recognized me and was friendly. When I explained the situation, she immediately grasped that she had made a mistake, apologized, rectified it AND gave me a gift card for my trouble. Now that’s service! I reassured her that it was an honest mistake and we both left feeling that the situation had been resolved amicably and satisfactorily.