My first year in Client Services
Our final post in the National Career Development Month series is an interview with Rhea Zakir, our Junior Account Manager in the Client Services team.
Rhea entered the agency world and joined our pack in 2021 as an Account Executive, supporting on a variety of accounts across ecommerce and travel. Her dedication to effective time management and prioritisation, as well as her rapport with clients and team members alike; means she earned a promotion to Junior Account Manager, taking a more active role in the development and implementation of client strategies.
We caught up with Rhea to uncover her biggest learnings from her first year in the marketing industry, and what her advice would be to anyone looking to take the leap:
What 3 words would you use to describe your first year in client services?
Exciting. Challenging. Growth.
What has surprised you the most about working in this industry?
How fast-paced the industry is – it seems every week there’s a new Google update to tell my clients about, or a new tool or software to trial, or changing consumer trends to dive into following wider economic updates. But it does mean that no two days are the same!
How did your preconception of what working in client services would be like compare to what it’s actually like?
When you hear client services, you think it’s just going to be very client contact focused – and whilst it is and I catch up with clients on a daily basis, there’s another side to it which is being involved in the actual strategy.
I co-ordinate various teams across the agency, and to do this effectively – I need to have a solid knowledge of their specialisms and individual impact on the overall strategy. This is the part I didn’t know I’d have so much involvement in but I’m really glad I do.
What have you enjoyed most about the role?
Truthfully, working with different people on a daily basis. I love getting to know the team and understanding their expertise, and everyone is so supportive and friendly, it makes every day really positive.
I also love working across different clients in different industries, I’ve learnt so much about how various sector markets work.
Recently I’ve been really hands-on with a client project, playing a slightly different role – actually acting as more of a production team member, and as challenging as that’s sometimes been, I’ve really loved getting stuck into the execution and seeing it through to completion, knowing I’ve had a real impact on its success.
What have you found the most challenging?
Presenting to clients, I still find this a challenge sometimes. I think it’s normal though and most people struggle with it at first, I think it’s something you just eventually get used to and build your confidence up.
Another challenge is asking the ‘why’ behind a task, it’s not something that comes naturally to me but when you ask this question, you learn so much more!
What would be your top tips for succeeding in client services – and in the agency world in general?
You have to be personable, it’s a role that heavily relies on developing relationships – both with clients and with the internal team, and whilst it does come naturally to me – sometimes when things are moving so fast you can forget to put the time into that extra bit of chit chat or finding out more about someone, but when you do, you get so much back.
Remember that you don’t always have to have all the answers, in digital marketing agencies you’re generally working amongst true channel experts and strategic specialists, so try not to give into imposter syndrome, realise that these people offer so much to you in the way of support, training and development.
Everything is a lesson – try not to focus on negative feedback from clients, it doesn’t happen often but you can get sucked into only focusing on this and not the positive feedback that happens the majority of the time. Just learn from it and turn it into a positive lesson, this is what shapes your experience and improves your approach.
What are the best things you’ve learnt whilst in the role?
I’ve learn to ask lots of questions, no matter how silly you think they are. This is the only way to learn and improve.
I’ve also learnt to manage my time more effectively, completing the short tasks (quick wins) as soon as possible and blocking out chunks of time for more time-consuming tasks where I need ultimate concentration.
What have you learnt about yourself?
That I’m resilient and better at handling multiple things at a time. I can finish some tasks quite quickly and I don’t easily get stressed by my task-list. In client services, you’re constantly juggling a multitude of tasks, and I’ve learnt that I stay calm under pressure and this is what helps me prioritise what to do first.
My confidence has definitely grown when presenting and leading meetings, but it’s something I’d like to improve on moving forward.
What advice would you give to someone preparing to enter the digital marketing world?
Have a positive mindset, see everything as a lesson. Be willing to listen, learn and also take the opportunity when presented to share your ideas or opinion, something you might not think is very valuable to add can actually be really valuable to someone else, and when you realise that, your confidence grows.
And always ask ‘why’.
What’s one of your goals for the year ahead?
I’d like to be involved in some more project work and grow my project management skills, seeing a strategy from beginning to end.
If you’re interested in entering a client services career, we might have a role for you – check out our careers page.
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