Why Client Servicing is a pain in the ****

I began my advertising career as a copywriter (on paper at least!). Since our agency consisted of only four people at the time, I soon realized that this was a “do-it-all” kind of job.

As the days wore on, I was performing all kinds of tasks in varied situations. Including marketing, secretarial jobs, attending to phone calls, accounting, brewing coffee and client servicing as well.

I didn’t mind most of these tasks. What I disliked the most and still do to this day is client servicing. It’s thankless and soul destroying. And that’s an understatement!

For instance, this one time, we were invited for a brief by a client in the Government sector. Actually, my boss took the brief directly from the concerned Government official. This is how it was conveyed to us.

Boss : “The client needs a campaign”

Me : “What should the campaign entail?” 

Boss : “He didn’t say.”

Me : “Does he have a broad idea of what he is looking for?” 

Boss : “I don’t know.” 

Me : “What did he say were his objectives?” 

Boss : “He’s not sure.” 

Me : “Ohhhkay!! So what should we do?” 

Boss : “Just come up with something.” 

So, we began working on a campaign with no idea of what the client was looking for, had no direction and no objectives.

After a week of discussion, deliberation and some very hard work, we developed four creative possibilities.

A meeting was fixed. Yours truly was supposed to lead the pitch.

At the designated time, we arrived at the client’s office. We waited in the reception area for a good three hours before the said client bothered to even acknowledge our presence.

Lethargy descended on my limbs and my colleagues were getting fidgety as well. Finally, after those three long hours, we were informed that the officials were in a meeting and would be with us shortly. “Shortly” turned out to be another hour and a half of cooling our heels.

Finally, after all that time, we were hustled into a conference room with some expensive looking equipment. We set up our projector and display, and got into some modicum of preparedness.

We were then subjected to another wait of some twenty minutes.

Eventually, three officials walked in, looking all important.

As we made to begin our pitch, one of them waved an impatient arm in the air and grunted, “I have only ten minutes. So, please be quick.”

Four collective gulps sounded across the room.

We had only begun running the slides, when he interrupted with,” I don’t want to see any presentation. Just tell me the main idea.”

We related the key ideas behind each of the creative possibilities. As we waited for a reaction, we realized two of the officials were attempting to stifle their yawns (in vain.)

Finally, the third official announced, “This is not what we were looking for. I don’t think it meets our objectives.” 

My heart leaped to my shoes and settled there. My mind was all over the place. “What objectives? You didn’t have any in the first place.” 

He then said, “You’ll need to do some in depth research. Come back to us in two weeks after you have understood our needs properly.”

I decided that this was as good a time as any to attempt some damage control. So I requested him again to give us a detailed brief. I relate the conversation below :

Me : “What should the campaign entail?” 

Official 1: “You should tell us.”

Me : “Do you have a broad idea of what you are looking for?” 

Official 2 : “The campaign should be unique. “

Me : “What are your main objectives?” 

Official 3 : “Give us some time to think.”

Me : So what should we do?” 

Official 1:  “Just come up with something.” 

At some point, I gave up!



7 thoughts on “Why Client Servicing is a pain in the ****

  1. As a plumber I can end in some real shit, but I think I’d much prefer my situation, than the bullshit that client was talking, and there’s always a job/task that doesn’t warrant anymore of our time, and give up on it….Hopefully a betterer week next week


    1. Hi. Thanks for stopping by and reading. In advertising, we face these situations very often especially when dealing with the Public Sector. I’m still learning to be patient and tolerant.


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