Account management is one of the strategies that businesses use to support customers and maintain personal relationships with them.
However, there is often confusion about account management falling under customer service. In this article, we will explore what account management entails, and find out whether it’s the same as customer service, or if it’s a standalone business function.
What Is Account Management in Simple Words?
Account management simply refers to the process of managing and maintaining customer relationships. One of the goals of this business operation involves building strong, long-term relationships with customers to ensure their satisfaction and loyalty.
To do this, the account manager tries to understand their customers' needs and preferences, and deliver consistent value in the form of products and services. They should also have an idea of how to improve customer service.
The purpose of account management is to retain existing customers and maximize their lifetime value to the business.
What is the Role of Account Management in a Business?
Account management may not be a well-known operation in a business, but it’s essential in keeping track of customers and their satisfaction with the brand. Below are the major goals of account management.
Build Strong Relationships with Customers
The process of account management aims to help the business establish a positive and productive relationship with its customers, specifically based on trust and mutual respect. Not just that, but an account manager does their best to retain the customers’ loyalty to the brand by providing immediate assistance and opening opportunities for personal connections.
Understand Customers' Needs
Effective account management aims to get a full understanding of their customer's needs and preferences when it comes to the products and services that the business offers. The process also ensures that the business is effectively meeting these demands by running customer satisfaction surveys, sending follow-up emails, and manually asking for feedback.
Providing Excellent Customer Service
Providing excellent customer service is another one of the main things that account management aims to achieve. This includes ensuring that existing customers receive timely and effective responses to their inquiries and concerns, as well as ideal resolutions and compensations.
Maximizing Customer Value
By identifying opportunities for upselling, cross-selling, and renewals, account management also works to help the business maximize the lifetime value of each customer. This operation targets a continuously increasing customer retention rate as a way to ensure that customers continue to patronize the brand and its products and services.
Account management acts as one of the first points of contact between the customer and the business by streamlining communication and collaboration among the company’s departments. This makes way for effective communication and increased work efficiency.
Identifying Growth Opportunities
Alongside catering to the needs of the customers, account management also aims to identify growth opportunities for both the business and its employees. This can involve finding out new ways to offer new products and entice the customer to avail of additional services.
Is Account Management The Same As Customer Service?
Account management and customer service are related, but they are not the same thing. While both roles involve working with customers, they have different goals and responsibilities.
When we say customer service, it’s mainly responsible for resolving customer issues or problems, providing support, and ensuring that customers are satisfied with their experience. The representatives are often the first team that deals with customers who have questions or concerns. This area of the business also focuses on providing prompt and effective support solutions. Easily said, customer service is the key to providing a good customer experience.
Meanwhile, account management focuses on building and maintaining long-term relationships with existing customers. Account managers work to understand their customers' needs and preferences in order to provide high-quality and consistent support and value. They may work with a small group of key customers to ensure maximized lifetime value to the business.
While customer service is important for ensuring customer satisfaction and resolving issues, account management is also critical for driving customer loyalty and long-term business growth. Successful businesses will have a strong focus on both customer service and account management since these two work together in creating a positive customer experience and building long-term relationships.
What Is Account Management, If Not Customer Service?
Account management generally falls under the broader category of sales and customer relationship management (CRM). In other businesses, they categorize account management under the post-sales process because this is where retaining customers and providing additional support will come in.
Account managers work closely with customers to understand their needs, address their concerns, and identify opportunities for generating more sales. They also collaborate closely with other teams and departments within the business, such as customer service, product development, and marketing, to ensure that customers receive consistent and high-quality service.
What Makes Good Account Management?
Not all account management processes yield the same level of results for businesses. It has to be efficient, effective, and customer-centric in order to work. Here are some of the key qualities that make up successful account management.
Strong Communication Skills
Effective account management comes with strong communication skills that can easily build rapport with customers, identify their needs, and provide clear and concise data about customer preferences. The account manager should also know how to professionally deal with difficult customers.
Good account management puts existing customers as the focus of their operations. This involves prioritizing customers, actively listening to their needs and concerns, and providing personalized service and support.
Account management should come with proactive problem-solving in order to efficiently anticipate and address potential issues before they even arise. This also means the account managers are capable enough to provide quick responses and resolutions.
Good account managers are strategic thinkers. They should be able to identify opportunities for growth and develop creative solutions to help both the business and its customers in achieving their goals.
Although account management gives most of its attention to the customers, the account managers should still be able to achieve smooth collaboration. This involves being able to work closely with other departments, such as the teams for customer support, product development, and marketing, to ensure that customers receive high-quality assistance all throughout the time they’re communicating with the business.
Attention to Detail
You’ll know if your company’s account management operations are good if they can easily manage complex customer relationships and navigate through multiple projects and tasks simultaneously.
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