“The Buck Stops Here”
The phrase was popularized by President Harry S. Truman. He kept the sign on his desk in the oval office as a reminder that it was his decision to make and no one else’s.
As an Account Manager, you are the last stop the agency’s work makes before going to the client. Some will just pass it along. But you should approach your role as much more. Here’s how to make sure the buck stops with you.
Multiple People Check the Work
As work travels through the agency in route to the client, it’s not uncommon for multiple hands to touch it.
Along the way, others are responsible for checking the quality of the work. Your agency may even require people to physicaly sign off on the work before it goes to the client.
So it’s tempting as the last person to see the work–and typically with little to no time left before the deadline–to just pass the work to the client. You assume that if there was a problem, someone else would have caught it.
How can three other people have checked it and not found a problem … right?
So you send it over, thankful that you got it in just under the deadline.
But this is typically when there is a problem.
Problems Take Many Forms
It’s human nature for people to assume that someone else will catch a mistake. That someone else thoroughly checked the work.
So they may not be as thorough as they should be.
A typo may slip through.
There may be some missing information.
Functionality may not work.
The best Account Managers never assume that someone else caught the error.
They always, without fail, do their own quality control. Here’s what you should be looking for.
The Account Manager’s QC Checklist
Compare to the Input
Go back to the original input provided for the project … the requirements or specifications. Make sure everything was addressed that was requested or recommended. Or if something was intentionally left out, be prepared to explain that to the client. If you have final approved copy, make sure all the copy matches and nothing is missing. If you’re dealing with digital copy, you can use Diffchecker to compare two sets of copy.
Verify Changes Were Made
For work that involves revisions, make sure the requested changes were made or addressed in some manner. It’s easy for people to miss a change that was requested and better for you to find it than the client.
Read all the copy. Carefully. Look up any words that you’re not sure about the spelling. Check punctuation. Look for inconsistencies. Do bulleted lists all use a period at the end? Do subheads all use sig caps? Take your time and make sure there are no errors. If it’s on screen, print out the text to read it in print. I’ve even known people who read copy backwards because that forced them to look at every word without skipping over anything. Another good resource for proofing digital copy is to use Grammarly.
Perform Quality Control
Whether it’s in print or electronic, double check calls to action. Call the phone number, enter your email in the box and submit, look up the URL. Make sure whatever action is requested, that it works! One time I called the phone number the client gave us for an ad and it was not a valid number. So even though we had the correct number … the client did not. If it’s a digital deliverable like a website or an online app, click around and make sure everything works … links, tabs, buttons, arrows to expand, etc.
Send it Back
The bottom line is that you should carefully and thoroughly review the deliverable before sending it to your client. If you do see something is missing or is not working, send it back to be corrected.
It’s far better to delay the work getting to the client than delivering work with a typo or an error. You can always explain to your client that it’s just gone back for one last-minute correction and it will be to him in a couple of hours.
And you will be proving your value way beyond just as a person who is delivering work. You will be safeguarding the reputation of the agency … and even your client.
It killed me to do it, but I purposely left a typo in this article. Did you see it?
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