A client service associate is a job position with various responsibilities. The prominent role of the client service associate is to assist customers with their account-related issues or product inquiries.
If you’re looking for a career with plenty of opportunities for growth and development, consider becoming a client service associate. This is an excellent way to start your career in the customer service industry. Here’s what you need to know about the client service associate career path.
1. What Is a Client Service Associate?
Client service associate is a role unlike any other in the industry. It requires knowledge of agency operations, strong interpersonal skills, and an intuitive understanding of client needs at all times. The role involves:
- Assisting internal teams with projects or assignments.
- Acting as point-of-contact for assigned clients.
- Generally doing whatever it takes to help deliver excellent work on time and within budget.
The role requires a high level of integrity and a capacity to work on a wide range of projects with a sense of ownership and urgency. The environment is fast-paced, deadline-driven, and team-oriented—client service associates are performance-driven, detail-oriented, able to prioritize tasks effectively, and adept at multi-tasking. Client service associates must also be quick learners, open to receiving and implementing feedback, and flexible in their approach.
2. What Does a Client Service Associate Do?
As a client service associate, you’ll get the chance to work on various projects from start to finish. This involves everything from new business pitches and presentations to coordinating with creative teams for ad delivery and planning. In addition to delivering work following preset deadlines and budgets, your role will also involve:
- Contacting agency clients to gather information/assistance
- Working with the project team to understand the assignment, planning, and execution of assigned projects
- Assisting with research, data analysis, reports, and presentations
- Tracking agency communications for accuracy and workflow
- Staying up to date on technical issues that could impact communication between clients and agency teams
- Overseeing quality control by carrying out evaluations and providing feedback
3. What Skills Are Needed to Become a Client Service Associate?
Successful client service associates have a wide range of skills and attributes. Look for these traits in people you’d like to work with:
Strong written and oral communication: You’ll need to collaborate frequently with people at all levels in the agency, so fluency is critical.
Self-management and time management: You’ll be expected to prioritize tasks according to importance while still meeting deadlines.
Problem-solving skills: You’ll need to be able to resolve conflicts quickly and effectively while maintaining high levels of client service.
Strong decision-making capabilities: You’ll often face difficult decisions that require you to weigh multiple factors to arrive at the best possible solution.
Stress tolerance: The pace can get hectic at times. The job requires the ability to stay calm in high-pressure situations.
Some client service associates progress to become account executives; others remain in the client services department, while others branch out into various roles within the agency, including project managers, producers, executive assistants, and team leads.
4. What Are the Educational Requirements?
Earning a college degree is not required to become a client service associate. Agencies look for applicants with strong interpersonal skills, attention to detail, time management abilities, and excellent written communication.
Those who advance in this career path are often quick learners with an ability to adapt rapidly to changing business priorities. A talent for working well with others is also an asset, as client service associates liaison between clients and other team members.
Individuals fill many entry-level positions with little or no experience in advertising at all. Agencies hire experienced professionals who possess strong communication skills and project management abilities but consider them for leadership roles rather than junior positions.
Those uncertain that they possess the skills needed to perform in this field but are interested in exploring these opportunities may consider internships or freelance assignments. A degree in a relevant field such as communications, marketing, public relations, English, advertising, graphic design/multimedia is helpful for advancement in this career path.
5. How Much Does a Client Service Associate Earn?
The salary range for client service associate positions varies widely. The standard pay grade is around $30,000 to $40,000 annually for full-time employees at smaller agencies and about $50,000 annually for those working in larger shops.
Larger agencies that are more likely to have the resources available to hire experienced professionals tend to pay their entry-level hires more than smaller agencies.
Entry-level positions at larger agencies also tend to be better paid because the higher cost of living in major metropolitan areas like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco requires a more excellent salary to support the same standard of living required in less expensive areas.
6. What Is the Job Outlook for a Client Service Associate?
The job outlook for client service associates is very positive. The advertising industry has had a strong track record of growth over the past ten years, with revenue increasing at an average rate of about 12% per year between 2000 and 2010.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the industry to continue that pace of growth for at least the next decade. Between 2010 and 2020, employment is expected to grow by about 20%, much faster than the average rate of growth predicted for most other industries in the U.SU.S.
Job seekers may find more opportunities opening up with smaller agencies as major players continue to hire, but the most excellent opportunities are likely found at larger agencies.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that about 30% of client service associates are self-employed, working as independent contractors or freelancers for multiple companies.
7. What Kinds of Companies Hire Client Service Associates?
Most entry-level positions in advertising are located within agencies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 60% of advertising industry jobs are within agencies.
The remaining employees are equally distributed among marketing services firms, broadcasters, publishers, and management companies.
8. Where Does a Client Service Associate Work?
Clients typically have offices on agency premises where they meet with their assigned account executives. Client service associates handle the day-to-day communication with clients, keeping them up to date about projects and ensuring that materials are delivered in a timely fashion.
Depending on the size of their accounts, client service associates spend anywhere from 50% to 80% of their time working directly with clients. The rest of their time is generally divided between research work (compiling data, tracking industry news, etc.), administrative tasks (answering phones, scheduling meetings), and other duties as assigned by their supervisors.
9. How Are the Responsibilities of a Client Service Associate Different from Those of an Account Executive?
Client service associates are responsible for much less than account executives. Smaller agencies may be expected to take on highly specialized tasks such as writing, designing, and editing work for clients.
This is generally not the case at larger agencies – their primary responsibility is to handle communication with clients and take care of administrative tasks.
The level of trust placed in an account executive’s judgment tends to be much higher than that placed in a client service associate – account executives are typically expected to handle many more tasks on their own and make independent decisions about the best way to proceed.
Many client service associates aspire to become account executives. Still, it can be a difficult transition – account executives are generally required to have years of education and experience before they are considered for promotion.
10. How Long Does it Take for a Client Service Associate to be Promoted?
It varies greatly depending on the company. At smaller agencies, advancement opportunities may be limited, and it can take years before an employee is considered for promotion.
There are many more positions opening up at larger advertising firms due to turnover so that employees can see promotions much sooner. On average, however, even in large companies, it can take between 3 and 8 years to advance from client service associate to account executive.
11. What Can I Do After the Client Associate?
Many client service associates choose to advance their careers in sales after gaining experience working with clients.
Some client service associates move into media planning or purchasing, which can help them learn more about the inner workings of advertising agencies and allow them to move up the corporate ladder more quickly upon entering the workforce.
Many employers highly value client service experience and can help workers gain employment in a wide range of industries.
12. What would three primary skills make someone successful at the client services associate position?
The primary skills required to succeed in the client services associate position are excellent communication (verbal and written), organization, and time management.
Client service associates will be working with many different people regularly, so they must listen carefully when clients describe what they need and then relay that information to their colleagues.
Being well organized is essential because client service associates frequently manage multiple tasks at once. Taking the time to plan out their day in advance will help them stay on top of everything.
The ability to work well under pressure is also essential, as client service associates may have only a short amount of time to take care of an urgent project when it suddenly arises.
13. Why Is a Client Service Associate an Excellent Entry-Level Job?
The client services associate position is an excellent entry-level job for many reasons. First, it provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the advertising industry and discover if it fits you.
In addition, when starting an entry-level job, candidates are often judged on their potential rather than their experience, so it can be easier to get hired.
Overtime hours are typically very flexible and short in duration, making it easy for workers to manage a school or other outside responsibilities.
It is also an excellent position to gain some hands-on experience while still earning an income that will allow them to live independently.
The client services associate position can be an essential first step on the path to a successful advertising career, so many workers with this job title aspire to move up in the company and advance their career within the industry.
14. Best Colleges to Study Client Service Associate
Some of the best colleges to study a client service associate program include:
- University of Delaware: Delaware offers a Bachelor’s degree in Account Management Communications
- University of Southern California (U.S.C.): U.S.C. offers a bachelor’s degree program in Advertising/Marketing Communications with options for concentration in Advertising, Corporate Communication, Public Relations, or Interactive Media.
- New York University (N.Y.U.): N.Y.U. offers a bachelor’s degree program in Media, Culture & Communication with a focus on Advertising.
- Michigan State University: M.S.U. offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.B.A.) in Advertising degree that allows students to choose an area of emphasis on Broadcast or Integrated Marketing Communications.
- Boston University: Boston University’s College of Communication offers both Bachelor of Science (BS) and Master of Science (MS) degrees in Advertising.
- University of Florida (U.F.U.F.): U.F.U.F. offers a bachelor’s degree program in Advertising/P.R.P.R. with different areas of emphasis, including one on campaigns and integrated marketing.
15. Online Courses to Become a Client Service Associate
Several online courses teach skills that will help prepare you for a client services associate position.
Customer Service Fundamentals by Udemy
This course teaches the basic techniques and strategies to create a positive customer service environment, including learning how to communicate effectively and lead successful meetings.
Soft Skills Fundamentals by Udemy- This course teaches the basic techniques and strategies for creating a positive customer service environment, including how to communicate effectively and lead successful meetings.
Customer Service Fundamentals by Coursera
This course will help you prepare for a career as a customer service professional. You will learn how to handle customer concerns and complaints and manage customer interactions when things go wrong.
Customer Service Foundations by Coursera
This course provides the opportunity to master the skills you need to excel in your career as a customer service professional. You will learn effective communication, how to listen effectively, and how to resolve conflicts with customers.
A career as a client service associate can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s essential to be patient and understand that it may take some time to build rapport with clients. To succeed in this field, you must effectively manage customer relationships and provide excellent customer service. We hope the information provided in this article will help you on your journey to becoming a successful client service associate.