Am I the only one who thinks people talk about brokers and traders but skip the daily drama of the account managers?
I am dedicating this piece today to those who do the hard work of retaining clients.
The Drama and Its Price
Account managers, as a group, are those who make intensive communications with traders and are measured on the quality and quantity. Those of you who have had the chance of making dozens of phone calls on a daily basis know how tiring and consuming this can be (if you are a psychopath with little compassion you may be less affected by this).
Doing it day by day is stressful and leads to emotional burnout: Account managers are requested to confront traders in emotional situations that sometimes involve large sums of money. Traders could be euphoric or depressed, happy or angry and their account manager needs to find a way to gain their trust and sustain relationships over time.
Due to the emotionally demanding work – some of the account managers may show signs of depression or even apathy. Account managers who have quit told me that the high salary they received did not justify the difficult work. It means that financial incentives are not the whole story.
Account managers’ average tenure is more or less 6 months, sometimes much less. They switch from one broker to another frequently. My understanding is that it could be due to burnout and need for change.
The Price Tag for the Broker
The high turnover of account managers is a headache for brokers. They need to invest more in recruitment and training. Moreover, a new account manager needs to start creating relationships and trust all over again with his portfolio of accounts.
He naturally has a learning curve until he reaches a satisfactory level of performance, therefore brokers may face losses until their employee learns his job.
The Cure for Burnout
If brokers want to slow down the turnover, they first need to recognize the hardships of the account manager job. Brokers can do the following:
- Hire resilient people with the right skills
- Set achievable and realistic goals
- Invest in training. Give your account managers the tools to cope with their daily drama: from physical exercise to relaxation or anything that may give them an outlet to express their emotions and thoughts and re-charge their energies.
- When signs of fatigue are expressed – Account managers should be able to take breaks, listen to music or make private calls just to refresh
- Every 2-3 months, brokers can offer a change for account managers, such as a different work station or even to run a small project for the company to make them feel better (e.g., arrange events for employees, prepare materials for EXPOs)
- The all-time winner: always give recognition and respect. It has an immense effect
- Come up with an incentive plan for loyalty. Meaning that account managers can profit from staying longer with their broker
- Find ways to automate some of the account managers’ work so they won’t have to deal with “black labor” of retention. For example, sending traders automated alerts about specific scenarios (e.g. “Your balance is at critical level”) could replace a phone call and help account managers focus on higher priorities issues. It could save time and preserve their energy. Automation in this sense could be a complementary effort to human labor that will eventually help slowing down the turnover.
Being an account manager involves endless moments of drama that can be emotionally draining and lead to high turnover. Brokers who seek stability should pay attention to this phenomenon and enjoy higher satisfaction rates. In the long run, it could be expressed in many business parameters.