Nurturing a sense of ownership is fundamental to attaining and embedding customer service excellence across all your departments.
That may seem an obvious and clear fact of life to many, but it is hardly implemented; another fact of life I personally witnessed throughout my extensive 25-year career in IT project management in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
In an earlier article, I stressed how impactful and impressive developing a keen attitude towards customer service is to guaranteeing a positive relationship with clients during project delivery.
Cultures may vary and you most certainly need to observe, learn and adapt, however; one particular trait is common: positivity.
Our clients always wanted to sense security and trust that they chose the best service provider possible. That trust and positive outlook will begin to erode should you commit a few professional communication errors, such as:
1. "umm... I don't know"
In the case that a client asks you a specific question or requests clarification about a particular topic and you end up with a blank stare on your face; chances are that his or her respect for your expertise, knowledge, and ability is on the decline.
Always be prepared.
However, should your preparation be found wanting; don't simply stare back sheepishly. The main reason for the constant coordination and communication between yourself and the client is that the client seeks a sense of assurance that the project is progressing without any problems towards the agreed upon business objective.
Assure the client that you will get back to him with an answer to his query as soon as you can or have the "specialist" provide a comprehensive response.
This way your client will feel assured that you are proactively servicing his needs without letting him and yourself down with a simple "I don't know".
2. "No, nope, no chance..."
No one appreciates a dead end.
When you respond to a customer request with a definite "No!", you leave them with no alternative options, solutions or chance to get anywhere near what they wanted.
Granted; sometimes (most times) clients scope creep and you feel stressed to deliver a successful project on time, but how does being negative benefit you..., not one bit.
Rather respond with "Here's what I can do for you..."
It provides the client with a sense that you are taking his issue seriously and on-board with him/her to solve it. It may not be via the recommendation he or she proposed, but you provided them with another recommended course of action that is can be considered way more sensible.
3. "Calm down"
If you ever told a client to keep calm... you most likely upped his/her rage to thermonuclear levels.
They are angry and frustrated. Don't feed the fire. Angry people need to be angry, and you need to acknowledge that they are upset for good reason.
Chances are they are mad for a mistake you or your company committed and their boss chewed their heads off for it. In that case, admit guilt and tell them how you are already fixing the situation.
Don't minimize or trivialize their reasons; rather register them and provide solutions. Building relationships based on healthy communication requires listening and when one party feels that their emotions or reasons are trivial to you by not acknowledging them; you initiated the destruction of that relationship.
4. "Give us a call a bit later"
Nothing would agitate a client or potential client than this response.
You may be busy, but you are the one who promised 24/7 maintenance, service and support.
Any seasoned professional in this dynamic industry of ours will tell you: it is still an industry that is meant to address and evolve human interaction. Don't be rude by asking them to call you later. Rather, be honest.
Explain calmly that you registered his query or will address him as soon as you can.
"I will call you in a few minutes..." Your client will accept that you have a busy schedule and he/she called at an unfortunate time.
Don't blurt out a "Can you call me later..." It's rude, offensive to some and largely bad professional practice.
Customer + Service = Rewarded
You may dismiss this topic as obvious, simple and overdone. However, focusing on human interaction and less about technology will enable your IT business to become a leader in your market.
We embedded the need and desire to be better than we were yesterday across all our departments and this helped us achieve Clutch's 2018 Leading B2B Solutions Provider Award in Asia and Africa.
I look forward to sharing your own experiences and how micro-moments such as the aforementioned helped shape your skill and impacted your project development and delivery process.
Otherwise; let us know how we can help you transform your business into a digital world leader.
- Project Management
- Customer Service