What Does it Take to be a Top Client Services Specialist Today?

By Jennifer C. Zamecki

Jane is always on top of her job. She knows what needs to be done and seems to accomplish a lot of work accurately and on time. Jane's manager seldom has to follow up with her on the status of her projects. She gets a lot of compliments from both clients and co-workers. Now we have Kim, who is always overwhelmed with the amount of work that must be done. Usually her manager has to send her work back several times because there are mistakes. Kim also receives client complaints about her lack of customer care. Recently one of Kim's co-workers has complained about her lack of flexibility. How come Jane is succeeding and Kim is failing in the same job? How can Kim’s manager help her achieve greater success?

It always has been a little ambiguous to figure out what exactly makes a top-notch Client Services Specialist. Recent research has quantified what is needed in the position today by defining these key areas:

  • Attributes: personal skills or competencies

  • Values: rewards and culture

  • Behaviors: how they do the job

Here are some details about each of these key areas, and what a manager should look for to guide their current employees towards becoming a top client services specialist.

Attributes will tell if an individual can do the job by looking at what personal skills or competencies are needed. The top attributes are:  

1. Planning And Organization:  This means having the ability to establish a process for activities that lead to the implementation of systems, procedures or outcomes. Client service specialists that define plans and organize activities that are necessary to reach targeted goals can achieve this. Another way is by organizing and utilizing resources in ways that maximize their effectiveness. Or, they can implement appropriate plans while adjusting them as necessary. A great client services specialist will consistently demonstrate organization and detail orientation.

2. Self-Management:  Having the ability to prioritize and compete tasks in order to deliver desired outcomes within allotted time frames. Anyone will stand out among co-workers by independently pursuing business objectives in an organized and efficient manner, and prioritizing activities as necessary to meet job responsibilities. By maintaining the required level of activity toward achieving goals without direct supervision employees will minimizes work flow disruptions and time wasters to complete high quality work with a specified time frame.

3. Customer Focus:  It goes without saying, everyone in the company should be commitment to customer satisfaction. This means consistently placing a high value on customers and all issues related to customers. By objectively listening to and understanding customer feedback, employees will anticipate customer needs and develops appropriate solutions. This will aid your company in meeting all promises and commitments made to customers.

Values make up the next critical success factor. They tell a manager why an individual will do the job, as well as what rewards to use as motivation. The top values are:  

1. Theoretical: These employees value knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Reward them by offering continuing education and intellectual growth. Never stop encouraging them to grow.

2. Traditional/Regulatory: These employees value traditions inherent in social structure. They thrive on rules, regulations and principles. Reward them with a structured work environment and feedback at specific intervals.

3. Utilitarian/Economic: These employees value practical accomplishments. This group appreciates results and rewards for their investments of time, resources and energy.

Behaviors tell how an individual will perform the job. In the research certain behaviors were analyzed and are needed to perform well in the job of Client Services Specialist. The top behaviors are: 

1. Organized Workplace: The job’s success depends on systems and procedures. Successful performance is tied to the careful organization of activities, tasks and projects that require accuracy. Record keeping and planning are essential components of the job.

2. Analysis Of Data: The job deals with a large number of details. It requires that details, data and facts are analyzed and challenged prior to making decisions and that important decision-making data is maintained accurately for repeated examination as required.

3. Customer Oriented: The job demands a positive and constructive view of working with others. There will be a high percentage of time spent in listening to, understanding and successfully working with a wide range of people from diverse backgrounds to achieve “win-win” outcomes.

Now that managers can have a clear picture of what to look for in a top client services specialist, they should ask themselves the following: Do your client serves specialist have these critical success factors mastered? If not, what are the company’s plans to develop them? How is the talent in your firm today being measured? Do your employees have the above named attributes, values and behaviors? If so, great!  You are ahead of the competition!  If not, how will you develop them or better yet, select talent that already has it? Either way, if you are not assessing your talent now, how can you meet the challenges of today’s evolving Client Services Specialist needs?

Read other articles and learn more about Jennifer Zamecki.

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