Over the past two couple of years, it has come to my attention that people have really different views on the topic of serving clients.
Here are some examples of what I am talking about:
- A client called and wanted the company client services representative to tell him where he should go to buy his wife flowers and if the representative could order the flowers for him. The company representative spent an hour finding the best flower arrangement for $30.00
- A salesperson came to our workplace without an appointment and wanted 60-90 minutes of a manager’s time to show him his revolutionary software he designed. The manager was busy so the company front desk person met with the receptionist instead for 60 minutes and left his card for the manager.
- A customer called and wanted our company representative to provide him with a report of all the services we had provided him for the past 10 years, and he wanted this information in the next couple of hours for his own review. The company representative dropped everything and spent four hours gathering all of the services provided this client that represented a total of $500.00.
All of these examples are fictitious, but the point of these examples is our own company representatives are at times spending a lot of time servicing client needs that ultimately do not result in strengthening customer relations.
Today, customer service is really more about managing a process more than just living under the old notion that “the customer is always right.”
Today, the motto should be ” How can I best service this customer’s needs.”
Look at the examples above.
- The customer service representative should have changed the tone of the conversation by asking, “Is there a special occasion?” and then followed up with, it would really be nice if you went somewhere and picked the flower out yourself. End of conversation.
- The receptionist should have told the visiting salesperson that she would gladly take his card and pass on the information. If the salesperson wanted more, he should formally call and set up an appointment.
- This last one needs more follow-up questions. It is always a good idea to find out the underlying reason for the request. This information could help reduce the amount of effort needed for the request. Maybe the customer was looking for a specific transaction. Also, a data retention policy should be implemented to avoid searches that go back in time a lot of years.
The Takeaway for Me
- Customer service needs to be evaluated from time to time to ensure a better experience for our employees as well as our clients. I am really going to focus on the following areas with respect to client service.
- Make sure we understand the clients’ needs better before acting on their first request. We may be able to better service their needs and save time in the process.
- Be respectful of time. If a request is going to take awhile, be upfront with the customer and make sure they understand how much time and effort their request might take. Don’t overpromise or put yourself or team in a stressful situation where the customer is expecting immediate turnaround on their request.
- Learn from the experience and document it. See if this customer request happens again. Companies can go years answering the same questions over and over. It may be an opportunity to improve a process.