How to Become a Client Relationship Manager: Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become a client relationship manager. Learn about the job duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in client relationship management. View article »

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  • 0:00 Client Relationship Managers
  • 0:55 Career Requirements
  • 1:43 Become a Client…

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Client Relationship Managers

A client relationship manager ensures customers are satisfied with a company's product or service. If they have issues or concerns, it's his or her job to resolve them directly. Client relationship managers are responsible for building customer relationships, managing accounts, and developing new programs that facilitate positive alliances between companies and customers. They may also entertain clients, host meetings, and prepare presentations.

The majority of public relations managers, such as client relationship managers, work full-time during normal business hours in an office setting. Some travel to conferences and similar events may be required. The career can be stressful, with demands from both the public and companies requiring attention. Some managers work long hours in order to complete tasks by deadlines.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Communications, business, English, public relations
Experience 2-5 years of experience
Certification Voluntary
Key Skills Written and verbal communication, marketing and sales, customer service, problem-solving, and active listening skills; knowledge of word processing, desktop publishing, graphics and video software; use of multi-line phone systems, copiers, and scanners
Salary $104,140 (2015 median salary for all public relations and fundraising managers)

Sources: Monster.com job postings (November 2012), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET OnLine

Aspiring client relationship managers typically need a bachelor's degree in communications, business, English, or public relations and 2-5 years of experience is often required. Certification isn't required, but is voluntarily available through professional organizations. These professionals should have skills in written and verbal communication, marketing and sales, customer service, problem-solving and active listening. They should also be able to use word processing, desktop publishing, graphics and video software, as well as Multi-line phone systems, copiers, and scanners. According to 2015 data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for public relations and fundraising managers was $104,140.

Become a Client Relations Manager

Step 1: Obtain Relevant Education

According to job postings for client relationship managers, employers seek candidates with an undergraduate degree or some college coursework. Associate's degree programs are available in customer relationship management, but most employers look for managers with a 4-year degree with a major in areas like marketing, communications, business administration or business. Customer relationship management courses examine how to influence customer satisfaction and manage employees, resources and programs to improve relationships.

For aspiring customer relationship managers who already possess a degree, many schools offer certificate programs or courses in the specialty. Typical curricula include training in topics like sales, marketing, decision-making, negotiation and relationship management.

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

Individuals entering the work force usually need to acquire sales or customer services experience that can lead to a client relationship manager position. Demonstrated proficiency and excellence at entry-level positions often provide opportunities for advancement within a company. Also, many employers require on-the-job experience in their industry for lower-level management or director positions.

Career paths are numerous for client relationship managers, because they perform similar job functions in related fields. They work as public relations managers, account managers, communications directors, customer relationship managers and business relations managers.

Step 3: Consider Certification

While optional, professional certification can be helpful for individuals who want to continue their training and stand out among candidates. Certification programs are offered online and through accredited organizations, such as the American Society of Employers (ASE). The ASE's Customer Relations Certification is obtained by completing six core and six elective credits of training within two years. ASE offers continuing education units for these courses and they may be eligible for college credit.

Client relationship managers typically need a bachelor's degree in communications, marketing or business as well as several years of experience. In 2015, the median salary for these professionals was $104,140.


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