SandaireMay 11 2020

What does it mean to be a Client Relationship Manager?

3 mins read

Written by Samuel Bosanquet, Director of Family Office Services at Sandaire

Sandaire are honoured to have been nominated and shortlisted for the CFI.co awards as Best UHNW Client Relationship Management – UK 2020. In light of this nomination, Samuel Bosanquet, Director of Family Office Services, looks at the past and present of what it means to be a client relationship manager.

Once upon a time, when our grandmothers walked into their local grocery shop, a cheery customer service assistant greeted them at the counter. After some pleasantries, they went through their weekly shopping list and the assistant handed over the requested goods – butter, eggs, flour, sugar… etc. There were few premium or essential ranges in those days, let alone ‘gluten free’ or ‘suitable for paleo’. Either the item was in stock, or it was not. Ahhh, the ‘good old days’, or were they?

If the shop had it, our grandmothers got it. And the assistant didn’t try to sell something they didn’t want. Now that sounds good. Unless of course, our grandmothers were trying to bake a birthday cake that day. And here is the first crucial lesson of service, quick or cheap customer service does not always equate to ‘good’ customer service. It is vital to listen to you clients and know their needs – as the saying goes, you have ‘two ears and one mouth’.

Thankfully shopping evolved and new, more helpful, assistants began to manage the shop’s relationship with them. The new assistants knew our grandfather’s birthday was coming up and therefore all the items would be in stock that day. Better still, the assistant reminded our grandmothers a week or so before. Even better, the assistant would offer to source some special ingredients to go into the cake – suddenly, they were a team.

Grandmothers were happy, but sadly shopping evolved again. One day they walked into the shop and a new, even more cheerful, service assistant greeted them. Alas, the eggs had sold out, but with a smile, the assistant offered an alternative – a fabulous looking cake. This didn’t seem a bad outcome, the grandmothers got the result they wanted and had a spare half day. But only later, when they gave the cake to their husbands and it lacked flavour and texture did they realise they’d been duped. The helpful service assistants had worked out that by turning the expiring ingredients into a cake, the shop could save money and deliver the product our grandmothers sought. While the assistants knew what their customer wanted, they didn’t understand the importance of the annual ritual, neither did they care about the results. This assistant was a business manager. And here are the second set of service rules – understand who you are serving (the shop or the customer?), what you are serving and why you are serving it. Or, like our grandmothers, they will never come back.

How does Sandaire approach service?

When I first arrived at Sandaire, I asked Alex Scott, our Founder, what he thought was the most important attribute for someone working in a family office. He replied “All I ask, is that you do the very best you can for our families”.

Almost a decade has passed and each of the families I work for want something slightly different; be it proactive advice, simplicity, steady returns or joined up thinking. By knowing their needs, understanding why it matters to them and caring about the results, I believe we’re doing the very best we can for our families.

There will always be a place in our world for the ‘ready-made cake’, but for those that want personal service and a partnership, it’s still available at Sandaire.