What does it mean to be Client Facing?
In the agency world, there is a term known as “client facing”. It’s a sort of title used to denote whether a person can be put in front of a customer and be effective, inoffensive, and continue to proliferate the relationship in a positive way. To be considered client facing you should have the following traits: intelligent, informed, well groomed, clear communicator, and patient.
A person who is intelligent can critically think and work through a problem to find a solution. It doesn’t mean they know everything only that they have the capacity to understand the issue and the surrounding marketing ecosystem and how they interact with each other.
Informed indicates someone, IMO, who knows the toolset involved. This is a person who has dealt with issues in the past and knows the particular pitfalls and problem areas within AEM and knows what to do when faced with them.
Well groomed is someone who can carry themselves with poise and not have any part of their appearance that is distracting. This is a person who is inoffensive in their mode of dress and personal grooming. What it is not is a person who has to wear expensive clothing. A better adjective to describe their dress might be modest, or unshowy. Depending on the customer you are dealing with tattoos, piercings, and even some hairstyles might be a little too edgy for them, or it might not be at all. This is the most nebulous of traits as some things might be ok to one client but not to another. Sometimes the way you look and carry yourself screams something about you that you might not intend.
A clear communicator can explain their thought process or steps of instructions in a concise and unambiguous manner. This individual refrains from vulgar speech and foul language. They are affable and personable in talking to the client to help put them at ease. And in a perfect world can deliver bad news or unpopular advice with integrity. It doesn’t mean someone with perfect elocution or a lack of accent.
Patience is hard for everyone. Most likely you were hired for your expertise, so you shouldn’t assume that the customer knows as much as you or knows why something is broken. You must be able to calmly explain the problem and help them understand why it happened, possibly several times. A patient person takes as much time as needed.
You should, because your customer absolutely cares. Having face to face or direct communication via phone or email is critical to having confidence in an AEM project. And your customer wants to have that confidence. Just because you are smart or skilled doesn’t mean that everyone wants to deal with your sour attitude or poor communication skills (this includes vulgar language). Just being smart doesn’t cut it. Never mind that we could all do with a little more civility and understanding in the world.
Obviously, some roles are in themselves client facing by nature: Account Executives, Project Managers, Sales, etc. A developer wouldn’t necessarily think that they need to be in front of the customer. Many devs would prefer to just have a buffer between them and the end customer. Those that have acquired those skills have taken a step in the right direction for their careers.
Adobe Experience Manager is a difficult system and there are going to be facets that don’t go right along the way. During these times it might be necessary to have a debugging session together or you might need to take a call from a client to help hold their hand through some steps to configure certain things, since you won’t be allowed in, for security reasons. In those times it will be helpful to have someone who knows how to work with customers. Even in this world of digital nomads where you might not have to meet face to face with someone, it is good to know that the people you will be interfacing with will be tactful, cordial, and professional. All of our developers are client facing, which means you get skilled and informed individuals who can communicate effectively the approach that should be taken with your AEM project.
Does your agency have a staff of client facing AEM architects and developers?
We do. We’re Hoodoo.