In order to be a successful account service representative, the following procedures should be followed:
The Golden Rule Before contacting a client in any capacity or in any way, you must obtain permission from Bill. With the careful adherence to this rule, we will all be aware of what each other is doing and avoid duplicate conversations with the client, and embarrassment for our company. This rule applies consistently to sequences of events as well. For example, you have permission and call a client, but they are out and you leave a prearranged message. The client calls back a couple of hours later. You must obtain permission again to speak with them. Simply put them on hold and ask Bill. You may never speak with a client without express permission each and every time. Things happen when you are not available, and sometimes Bill calls clients on other issues. Never speak with a client without current permission. Violation of this rule is a serious breach of procedures. If you answer the phone, you are performing a clerical function and should stick to it. If the client wants to talk about anything, put them on hold and seek permission before going any further. If you are speaking with a client on a topic for which you have permission and they want to talk about a new topic, or a different topic, put them on hold and request permission. Once you get used to it, it's easy as pie. You will be sorry for the damage you do to our client relationships if you break the spirit or the letter of this rule. Repeated or serious violations will be cause for dismissal. Bill should never know less about client affairs than you do.
Minimum Client Contact
Client contact should be kept to an absolute minimum. Prepare a list of as many topics as possible before seeking permission and calling a client. This will reduce the number of interruptions in a busy client's day. As a rule, no more than one contact per day. More than one and you will be asked about your management skills.
It is your responsibility to be sure that all artwork is proofread and approved by the President before it leaves the building. No exceptions.
Client Approval and Verification
All advertisements, brochures, or anything else we produce should have client approval before it is sent out for placement. Bill is the client for Legend in-house projects. This rule involves getting a client's signature. Sometimes, time doesn't permit the delay required for a signature, but it is rare. When it happens, a verbal approval is acceptable; but it must be followed-up with written approval. You must write down the date and time of that verbal approval for verification and put it in the appropriate project jacket. A copy should then be distributed to the appropriate people and the President. A wise employee will also always verify verbal approval in writing, with a clear paper trail, with a memo which begins, "As you approved in our conversation today, we have taken the following actions...."
Employees should be aware of other employees phone conversations and should always speak loud enough on their own for others to hear. We have no real restrictions, other than common sense, on personal phone calls so there is no reason to speak softly or to conceal anything. Communication and trust go hand in hand. Don't make Bill ask, "Who was that?" When you finish a call, tell him voluntarily. If it's a personal call start the call with, "Hi, Mom.." or something like that so others can stop listening. We only care about business, not your personal life. Trust is important, but you have to take the first step.
Call Reports and Client Responsibility
Organization and attention to detail are a must for everyone in the company. The more that is written down, the more you protect the agency and the clients. Reports of client meetings, and lengthy phone calls, should be typed on Call Report sheets and distributed to the appropriate people. It doesn't stop there. It is your responsibility to follow up on each assignment and be sure it is done in a proper manner. You must be the client's representative in the agency and the agency's representative to the client. In some cases, the client may want to see a copy of our in-house call and meeting reports. This is a good idea to insure that the client knows how you perceived the meeting or conversation and so that any discrepancies can be discussed at the beginning.
Promises to Clients
Everything you promise, or hear another employee promise, on behalf of the agency, to a client will be embedded in the client's mind. Write down all promises you make, or hear made by anyone else, in your notes. Any change in discussed plans should be reported to the client as soon as possible, with permission from Bill.
Consult with Bill immediately when you come back from a meeting with a new assignment. Everyone should know all the details. The more you communicate, and write down, the better off the entire agency will be. This communication allows for smooth procedures, production, disucssion and profitability.
Estimates and Budgets
The client should have an idea of the cost and timetables for each project. If we are working on a year-long plan, keep the total budget in mind. If it is a single project, the client should approve an estimate before production begins. You should always inform the client that the estimate is based on a time on project and "first pass" basis and that any changes, after the first round, process camera, publication and printing materials, taxes, and deliveries will be additional and are not included.
Client Charged Time
The client should be charged for every minute of your time. Therefore, you should be conscious of how you are spending your time. You should not run out to a client at the drop of a hat. You should never pad your timeslips. The most cost effective use of your time, including methods of delivery, should always be used, to save time and to be efficient and professional. The billing procedure will make whatever adjustments are necessary, you should just be totally honest in your records, without manipulations.
Timeslips should be filled out regularly every day, before going home at night. Bill should get them at the end of each and every work day, including Fridays. Most of your time should be chargable unless otherwise authorized. Every minute you work should be accounted for. If you are turning in 480 minutes every day, you are not following this rule.
Bill is responsible for each project and its completion. Therefore, he must manage the project the whole way through. The Work Order form must be filled out completely and accurately at the beginning of every project. Everyone must be fully aware of all deadlines. We are all responsible for the job being in the right place at the right time, and for on-budget completion.
Billing and Credit References
Before beginning a job for a new client, be sure that the finance department has gotten credit references. Keep in contact with the finance department so they have all the information necessary for a new client and won't be surprised when the first project jacket comes in for billing. It is extremely important that the new client is aware of our billing procedures, prices, and procedures and is clear on what the job is going to cost. If this doesn't happen in the beginning, Legend will not get paid in the end. Every new client should be sent a "Business Practices" and an "Explanation of Products & Services" sheet with the first invoice. This information is also available on our Internet Site.
Try to get the answers to your questions from every other person in the company before going to Bill, but do go to him. If he is the only one who can answer your question, then don't hesitate to ask him immediately, interrupting whatever he is doing if necessary.
The Company Manual
All employees are responsible for knowing the contents of the Company Manual and for always setting a good example for all other employees of the company.
You represent Legend, Inc. every time you make a call or walk out the door. Be sure to represent our company in the best manner possible, from your appearance to the positive information and attitude you present.
Preface & Conclusion
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