What does your job entail?
I offer financial support to entrepreneurs, including freelancers, liberal professionals, craftspeople and shop owners. This support covers every step in their project—from creating to developing their activity. I work with them to define their objectives and needs in order to provide the best advice for managing their professional activity and their personal assets. Proximity is an important aspect of my job, since most of my customers have their offices near my branch. That allows me to keep a close eye on their activity and act as a reliable partner on a daily basis.
On that note, what is the key to building a trusted relationship with your customers?
For me, the secret is maintaining a close connection with customers. To do that, you have to get to know them and stay in touch with them to learn more about their activity. One trick is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Often, that helps you understand and anticipate their needs. Responding fast is another key factor. The faster you respond to a customer request, the more likely they are to trust you and even recommend you to other business owners.
Photo : Marie-Line Eyermann
Can you walk us through a typical day in your job?
Actually, there is no typical day in my job. It all depends on my customers’ needs. However, there are certain tasks we carry out every day. For example, the very first thing I do when I get to the office in the morning is check my schedule and prepare for the day’s meetings. I also have to plan my upcoming visits to my customers. After that, I have to answer all my urgent requests, either by email, phone or secure message service. I also have to ensure adequate management of risk and compliance. In other words, I have to make sure customers meet the deadlines and terms outlined in the contract they signed with us. If that doesn’t happen, I have to take action as quickly as possible. Finally, every day I check the financial news and seek out new customers.
What reflexes does it take to do this job?
The first reflex is to stay curious—take an interest in your customer, their industry, the issues they face, etc. The more curious you are, the better you will be at finding pertinent solutions for your customers. The second reflex is organization. When you have more than 500 customers in your portfolio, it is crucial to manage your schedule closely and plan your meetings as far in advance as possible.
This also includes promoting the digital tools available to help customers with their routine operations. Leveraging synergies is another key asset for this job.
Depending on the needs of your customers, you may need to contact experts or specialist advisors who can offer personalized advice. This brings up another important part of the job: teamwork. Professional account managers often fly solo, but it’s also essential to get involved in the daily operations at the branch, in order to learn about other businesses and work together with everyone else. It’s a great way to grow your knowledge and find innovative solutions.
The first reflex is to stay curious—take an interest in your customer. The more curious you are, the better you will be at finding pertinent solutions. The second reflex is organization.
You started your career as a wealth advisor. How does that experience help you today?
It’s important to remember that a professional account manager not only helps their customer to manage their professional activity, but also their personal assets. My experience as a wealth manager is extremely helpful, because it gives me a level of credibility when I have to advise business owners about their personal assets. In addition, this experience taught me the reflexes I need today, such as listening to customers and staying updated on economic news.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
All the interaction. I really enjoy meeting new people and helping them with their professional plans. It’s satisfying when a business owner thanks you for helping them to develop their activity. The most gratifying part is when a customer recommends you to other entrepreneurs. It’s a nice feeling when your strengths are recognized.
What makes you proud of the work you do?
So I am very proud that I recently convinced several young female entrepreneurs to get funding from BNP Paribas.
I recently formed a trusted relationship with a customer’s certified accountant. Little by little, it led to a national partnership between BNP Paribas and their accounting firm. Another topic I care about is female entrepreneurship. Women entrepreneurs use banks less than their male counterparts. So I am very proud that I recently convinced several young female entrepreneurs to get funding from BNP Paribas. I notably helped them access credit, a solution they had not previously considered, and that helped kickstart the development of their activities. I hope I’ll have the chance to help even more women in the future.
What image would you use to explain your job to a child?
Like a family doctor, a professional account manager listens to their patients, who are business owners. They take an interest in their financial issues, study their symptoms, then issue a diagnosis. Next, they have to reassure their patient and recommend the best remedy. Then, they monitor the patient’s progress over time and help keep their business healthy. If the symptoms persist or exceed the bounds of their expertise, a professional account manager may refer their patient to a specialist. In short, their goal is to give entrepreneurs peace of mind, so they can focus on developing their professional activity.