Client service doesn’t have a magic formula, but it’s something we all want. Excellent client service improves client loyalty and profitability. It can be as simple as leaving everybody smiling and feeling good about their interaction with you. It is rarely about a long checklist of client service activities (although they may be needed).
Imagine, just for a moment, you’re stuck in a hot, sweaty, tube train (Oh the joys of the London underground). Imagine looking round at your fellow passengers who are jammed in, sagging in the heat and wondering why they’re there.
Well, actually they weren’t, for the first time in years nearly everybody on the train was smiling. No, I’ve not been drinking and yes it’s true. This was a recent tube journey that I had, and I’d do again.
Process destroys Personality power?
One of the main problems with many client service programmes is that they attempt to processify people power. I’m not against service programmes as many of them can really improve service. But can they make people happy, when they’re normally all miserable?
Back to today’s tube train.
Why were all the sweaty, squashed and delayed passengers smiling? The tube driver was making them feel good. As we approached a large shopping centre, she cheerfully told us to enjoy our shopping and not spend too much. As we pulled out she happily told those that remained how much money they were saving. She added commentary to most stations. I’ll bet that’s not in the rule book for station announcements, but they were the best I’ve ever heard.
How are you helping client service?
Over specifying what receptionists and other client facing staff will prevent personality. How could you reduce what you demand and increase their freedom?
Encouraging happy, personality laden chat? There are no written words that could help here, but the starting point is the example you set to the receptionist.
People are less likely to interact with clients like my tube driver if they’re unhappy. How does your example and that of the other staff leave your team feeling?
Two final examples
- The airline pilot. Have you ever had a flight delay? It’s not nice and people can get grumpy (OK, understatement). We boarded the plan, all the cabin staff were cheerful, delivered “the script” and were them so cheerfully off script the effect was amazing. Everybody had a good flight.
- The receptionist. I’d had a long, tiring, stressy day and was running a bit late, I arrived for my last meeting and she was even later! The receptionists joke, offer of a mobile phone charger and offer to check the traffic news for when I left really helped.
No they’re not examples from professional firms, but they are things you could consider (actually the second point above was from an Accountant I visited for the first time!).
Client service is about client interaction and that’s best with personality, which is something you and your whole team influence. What do you think?