DEFINITION of 'Client Facing'

A client-facing role is one wherein an employee interacts directly with a customer, sometimes in person. Client-facing functions are important and are used to understand the client's needs or to solve problems a computer or automated software would have too much difficulty doing. Many companies will attempt to automate or outsource this function if it can save money and time.

BREAKING DOWN 'Client Facing'

Client-facing jobs can include serving as a personal financial planner, where the client discusses and explains their goals and investment needs. Both parties use this interaction to decide if or how the needs can be met.

Different Types of Client-Facing Roles

Customer service representatives, cashiers, hotel receptionists, and sales floor staff can all be considered client-facing positions given their one-on-one interaction with clientele. Professionals such as realtors, insurance agents, and event planners also have client-facing duties based on the nature of their roles.

Realtors, for example, take prospective home buyers out to see different properties that may appeal to them, showing them features of the dwelling, parts of the house that need refurbishment, and the aspects of the neighborhood and community. An insurance agent may have a discussion in their office with a client about the types of policies that might best suit their goals and needs for coverage. An administrative assistant who greets visitors to an office on behalf of the company is considered to have a client-facing role.

The way client-facing staff responds to customers can have a substantial effect on retail sales, repeat business and spending activity. A customer who believes they have been listened to, their needs addressed, and helpful advice has been offered might be inclined to patronize a business again, if not increase the size and scope of their purchases.

Companies may make a special effort in choosing employees to fill client-facing roles given the effect their interactions with customers can have. An unsatisfactory experience at a retail location or a restaurant could compel a consumer to visit a rival establishment in the future in the hopes of receiving better service.

Client-facing roles are changing with the ever-increasing use of social media to communicate and interact directly with customers. It's not uncommon for consumers to voice their displeasure and praise by issuing comments that are directed at a business. The employee whose role is to respond to such comments on social media can have a comparable effect as one who greets customers at a store. Not only will the individual customer receive the message, anyone in the public who is paying attention to the interaction might also judge the company’s response and react accordingly.

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