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Understanding Client Services: Definition and Careers

What is client services?

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Client services is a core aspect of consumer services, client relationship management, sales, and customer service. Specialists in client services help clients navigate complex issues and reach specific goals. You can work in client services in various industries, from manufacturing to technology to finance

What Is Client Services?

Client services is an area of customer service, consumer services, and sales where businesses focus on building and maintaining relationships with their clients. In some companies, client services teams may also focus on sourcing new clients. 

The main goal in a client services role is understanding client needs and matching them with business offerings.

“Sometimes, things get messy,” says Robert Kaskel, chief people officer at Checkr, Inc. “Customer needs can’t be met with current offerings, and you need to come up with creative solutions to keep them happy.”

Client services also include the resources and tools customer and client service specialists use to help clients. These resources for clients are things like help desks, personalized support teams, and guides to assist clients with finding answers to common questions. 

Bloomberg logo through magnifying glass

Bloomberg Client Service

Step into the role of a Bloomberg Customer Support team member to navigate customer questions, issues, and requests in this free job simulation.

Avg. Time: 3 to 4 hours

Skills you’ll build: Multi-tasking, prioritization triage, time management, problem solving, critical thinking, root cause analysis, conflict resolution, de-escalation, customer retention, composure

Responsibilities in Client Services

Client services specialists have a wide range of responsibilities depending on their job titles, experience level, and industry. Some everyday tasks a client services specialist may need to handle include: 

  • Answering client or customer questions
  • Resolving customer complaints and issues, such as dissatisfaction with service or billing problems
  • Finding new products or services for clients to help them meet their needs and goals
  • Coordinating with clients to schedule meetings or services 
  • Account management
  • Educating customers about new and existing products and services
  • Negotiating the terms of contracts and agreements 
  • Working with other teams in the company to find novel solutions to client issues

While the primary responsibility of a client services specialist is understanding a client’s needs, that isn’t always as easy as it seems. 

“Understanding a client’s needs goes beyond hearing their words,” says Tony Taylor, owner of A1 Auto Transport. “It involves empathizing with their situation and responding in a way that demonstrates genuine care and concern.”

BNY Mellon logo

BNY Mellon Client Service

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Avg. Time: 1 to 2 hours

Skills you’ll build: Understanding the brief, sense of urgency, communication, ECRM, client specificity, curiosity, relationship management

What Is Client Services vs Customer Service?

Client services and customer service have a substantial overlap, but the primary difference between the two is that clients are different types of customers. Clients generally purchase professional services to solve a need or issue. When a client purchases something from a business, they usually enter into a business agreement. For instance, if you’re buying a house and need a mortgage, you enter an agreement with a mortgage lender to get financing. 

On the other hand, customers tend to purchase a broader range of goods or services and don’t enter into business agreements. While all clients are customers, not all customers are clients. Customers can be as detached from a business as someone purchasing a single bottle of water from a corner store. But they can also be as involved as an enterprise customer who buys a software product through an exclusive licensing agreement. 

So, what is customer service when compared to client services? Businesses tend to spend more time, money, and effort on clients since the relationship is much stronger. However, client services professionals rely on their customer service skills to keep clients happy and satisfied. 

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Avg. Time: 30 to 60 mins

Skills you’ll build: Active listening, communication, customer service, research

Types of Client Services Industries

Every industry has clients or customers to some extent. However, some industries work more directly with clients than others. Some common types of companies and industries that offer careers in client services are:

Even subsections of each industry can have specialized areas of client services. For instance, in banking and real estate, mortgage lenders work directly with customers to find the right loan for their needs. 

“It involves not just facilitating transactions,” says Brian Quigley, mortgage broker and founder of Beacon Lending. “But understanding each client’s unique needs, providing guidance, and maintaining strong relationships throughout the loan process.”

Bloomberg logo through magnifying glass

Bloomberg Client Engagement

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Avg. Time: 3 to 4 hours

Skills you’ll build: Identifying problems, problem solving, Microsoft Excel, open-ended questions, communication, research

Careers in Client Services

With such a wide range of industries relying on client services, the variety of job titles is equally broad. Some possible job titles you can have working in client services are: 

  • Bank teller
  • Flight attendant 
  • Patient coordinator
  • Account manager
  • Information technology (IT) support specialist
  • Administrative assistant
  • Customer service representative
  • Customer success manager

Account management is a common area of client services across many different industries. In account management, account managers can specialize in assisting corporate clients, such as in business-to-business roles (B2B), or working with individual customers. 

Other client services roles can have more niche specializations. For instance, mortgage loan officers can focus on specific types of clients, such as “first-time homebuyers, refinancing, or dealing with complex financial situations,” says Quigley.

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How to Get Into Client Services

Getting into a client services role requires focusing on building interpersonal skills and soft skills, networking effectively, and being open to learning new tools and technologies. 


You don’t need a specific degree or major to land a job in client services. Some roles may be entirely entry-level and require only a high school diploma or GED. However, client service careers with higher degrees of responsibility may also require more extensive education. 

Schooling is also a great way to define a specialization early on. For instance, if you want to work in financial consulting, a finance, economics, or accounting degree can help you get there. Additionally, sales and marketing roles can benefit from business and economics coursework so you can better understand how clients interact with companies and the economy at large. 

“If you aren’t sure where you’d like to specialize yet, take a general business course that teaches you the right service skills and specialize later,” says Kaskel.

To be successful in client services, you must have a deep interest in people — one of the most complex and challenging subjects. To hone your people skills, you should seek feedback from those around you, and starting a feedback loop during school is an excellent way to ensure you’re on the right track. 

“The best way to learn and grow in this field is to be open to constructive criticism and continuously strive to improve,” says Taylor.

New York Times Advertising Sales

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Avg. Time: 2 to 3 hours

Skills you’ll build: Written communication, attention to detail, research, presentation, verbal communication, stakeholder management, project management

Experience and Skills

The quickest way to build your client services experience and skills outside the classroom is through entry-level roles and internships. 

“Look for internships or entry-level positions in customer service or sales to gain practical experience,” says Taylor.

Through internships and entry-level roles, you can also begin building your professional network. Networking is a crucial skill in client services, both for career advancement and adequately supporting more complex clients. 

Other vital skills to succeed in client services include a mix of hard skills and soft skills, such as: 

Each industry and specialization comes with its own unique set of skills and challenges. Although “the skill sets and specializations vary with one common thread — having good people skills is a must,” says Kaskel.

Beyond people skills, though, the best client services specialists empathize with their customers. Depending on the specialization, you may need to understand a client’s situation beyond the basics. 

For example, if you’re interested in financial client services, “I suggest developing a genuine interest in understanding clients’ financial goals as it’s not just about numbers, but about people’s dreams and aspirations,” says Quigley.

Ready to start exploring your client services career options? Get hands-on experience using our free client services job simulations

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McKayla Girardin is a NYC-based writer with Forage. She is experienced at transforming complex concepts into easily digestible articles to help anyone better understand the world we live in.

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