What Is Client Facing?

A client-facing role is one that entails direct interaction or communication 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 attempt to automate or outsource these functions as technology advances, as it can often save money and time, but at the same time sacrifices that human interaction and personal touch.

Client facing positions are sometimes referred to as the front office, which can be contrasted with back office roles.

Key Takeaways

  • Client facing generally refers to job activities that involve direct interaction or contact with a client or customer.
  • These roles advise customers and help to solve problems for companies.
  • Client facing roles include everything from retail door greeters, to personal financial planners and realtors.

Understanding Client Facing

Client-facing jobs can include serving as a personal financial planner, in which 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. Depending on the industry and role, client-facing personnel of a company may be some of either the highest-paid (such as stockbrokers or bankers) to lowest-paid employees (including receptionists).

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 and show 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, think that their needs have been addressed, and feel they have received helpful advice, 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 in Social Media

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 customer receive the message, but anyone in the public who is paying attention to the interaction might also judge the company’s response and react accordingly.

Client Facing in Financial Services

In financial firms like banks, brokers, or financial advisor firms, so-called front office staffers typically have the most direct contact with clients. In the financial services industry, front-office employees are typically those experts that generate revenue for the company by providing direct client services, such as wealth management.