Account Management and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

By Ashley Hall

Bad days. We all have them. As an account manager you could be fielding reports of platform issues like bugs and downtime, getting long lists of feature requests, and calming an upset customer all in one day. It is easy to get overwhelmed when managing many client relationships, especially when it feels like nothing is going well. It is important to remain positive and focused in order to stay on track.  Here are a few steps I take to ensure the terrible day doesn’t throw me off my game.

Stay Calm

You’ve just received a call from a client and they’ve reported that their sky is falling. It’s easy to let their panicked energy impact you. However, you need to remember that they have reached out to you for assistance. Remain calm, repeat their story to convey understanding, and then provide them with your next steps for coming to a resolution. Next, loop in whatever peers necessary to begin on the solution, and keep the customer updated on progress. Remaining calm will reassure your client that you will provide them a resolution soon, but it also provides that reminder to yourself. Effective problem solving does not easily happen out of panic: Remaining calm will get you to a solution quickly and with less stress.

Segment Your Client Issues

After a long day of working with clients, some of whom that might not be having the best experience with your platform, it’s normal to feel like absolutely nothing is going right. Remind yourself; you will always hear the negative aspects of your platform more than the positive ones. People are more apt to complain about a service provider than provide kudos. It's also important to remember that one client’s issue may not be an issue for the next. Do not let a negative interaction bleed into your next interaction that has the potential to go well.

Set Daily Goals

I don’t know about you all, but I have never really seen the end of my “to do” list. Of course you are checking a few items off each day, but inevitably you’re also adding more. It can get discouraging to always see a long, seemingly never ending “to do” list. Every morning I renegotiate that to do list to set a realistic expectation for how many of those items I can complete that day. Setting a mini goal for each day allows you to feel accomplished and productive for that day while still working to make that list just a bit shorter.

Prepare for Tomorrow

Walking into the unknown is almost a guaranteed way to set yourself up for a bad day.  At the end of each day ensure you are prepared for the next one. I review my calendar to ensure all meetings and confirmed and I am not double-booked. Then I confirm I have got the items needed for each meeting. Consider questions like "Which clients am I speaking with?" or "What follow up items am I expected to deliver tomorrow?" Setting up your daily goal the night before allows you to walk into work ready to hit the ground running.

Leave Work at Work

Dedication and passion for your job is important, however your personal life and family are important too. Allow yourself to truly clock out in the evening and switch your focus to your personal life, whether it be activities or spending time with your family. Re-charging your batteries on the evenings and weekends will ultimately allow you to be more focused and productive during the hours you dedicate to work.

Tough days are inevitable, especially when you are working in a fast-paced start up. Remaining calm, organized and, positive under pressure will allow you to guide your clients to success and while representing your company well. Remind yourself and your teammates of some wins and positive interactions to keep your head up on an especially tough day. There's always happy hour to look forward to!

A customer success playbook can keep your team organized and bad days to a minimum. The Success League is a consulting firm that works with customer success leaders who want to unlock the potential in their team. We help build the metrics, goals, playbooks and processes that help teams perform at their peak.

Ashley Hall - Ashley loves to lead account management teams; from training newbies to building processes out of chaos to working directly with customers. With an eye on the future she is a powerhouse in building scaleable frameworks that support and drive growth.  Ashley is currently working for Sparkcentral and holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  She lives in San Francisco, CA.