I have a theory that the best agency account people are the ones who don’t go out of their way to try to be friends with their clients, or even try to get their clients to like them.
Sure, an account person must earn the trust and the respect of their clients. They must always be looking out for the client’s business interests, career interests, and make sure they are adding value, but they don’t have to be buddies with the client.
I’m writing in broad generalities here, but when an agency account person tries to be their client’s pal, it makes the average account person more reluctant to maintain an honest relationship. Bad news tends to be delivered slower, and recommendations and advice are often given based on what the client wants to hear rather than what might be best for the customer, the user or the business.
Instead of being a friend, be an advisor. Make the client happy through good counsel, timely interactions and updates and by delivering great work. I know many great account people who have become friends with their clients, but those lasting and productive relationships were built over time.