Have you ever worked on client service in your team, but not fully succeeded?
- Have you ever wanted to improve it?
- As the “boss” can you see why client service important but your team don’t seem to get it?
I am sure that you understand how important service is in the modern world, the only difference between you and your competitors, or at least the only difference between you and retaining a piece of business? The real issue is that your team deliver the service, not you.
Step 1, outlined in a previous article was look in the mirror. Having done that do you now want to work things a bit further?
Scuba Diving and Client service?
As well as coaching Business owners to improve their business, I have been a scuba diving instructor for many years. One thing I learnt long ago to improve my scuba teaching was to “waste” half an hour at the beginning of the course chatting about “stuff”.
I have had many disagreements with dive store owners about this “wasted time”. But these discussions enable me to improve the course (or suggest that some customers take a different course). The purpose is to understand their motivation and goals.
I am often presented with a couple that want to learn to dive. To be more precise one of the couple want to dive and the other is going along with it. When the chips were down this would always cause a problem. Going through the motions is OK until you have to struggle against something which is not your goal, until it gets harder or until your fear increases. How would you feel underwater, perhaps a little uncomfortable? Having somebody underwater that you are relying on for your life is not good……if they are no good!
Understanding the issues and changing the way the course is tackled allows me to safely teach my students. When the chips are down client service is just the same, people struggle with something that isn’t their goal.
Attitude doesn’t change when it’s told to.
Simply that telling your team to up their game will not hack it; you need to work with them. Looking in the mirror was step 1, to improve things further means you need to think about what service means to them. Then you can get their model and yours aligned.
To give great client service they need to:
- Have fun.
- Remember what it is like to be a client.
- Know your products and the limitations of your products.
- Greet each client as they do with their friends (willingly and happily).
- Make connections between yours (and other) products, then help clients see those connections.
- Ensure that the client buys the best product for their needs (not your needs)
- Avoid over-promising, misrepresenting, or lying!
- Completely fulfil the client’s needs.
- Help the client feel valued.
You could probably add more. But what do they think is relevant? Working with them on a collaborative model can help them set their own goal for client service. Like the trainee diver you can’t force the way people think about something.
To be able to have a client service attitude, your team need to:
- Love what you do.
- Think of the other person, specifically the client.
- Do the unexpected to exceed the client’s expectations.
- Picture themselves smiling and actually smile when on the phone
- Think about “I will find out” versus. “I don’t know” and “I’ll get back to you”
- “How can I help you” versus. “Sorry, I can’t help.”
- Take care of themselves and teammates.
Things to ask your team about.
Some good things to be asking your team about may include:
“What is good client service?”
- Is it anything that the customer wants?
- Is it anything that makes the customer experience more enjoyable?
- You may well need to put limits on this, but maybe not
Maybe you need to make them think about internal things like:
- The processes that operate in your business and how they can help/ hinder service
- How you can help them to improve service, what frustrates them. But be wary, until they trust you they won’t tell you.
Or external things, like:
- The competition and what they do
- What has changed & what can we learn? This should mean looking at other industries.
- Try starting with some examples and their experiences
You know the old saying, “Client Service is an attitude, it is not a department”. Attitude takes longer to change; it means working with your team rather than just telling. I wrote another related article, click here to read it.
- Look in the mirror, ensure you’re a good role model
- Recognise excellence
- Ensure that you (or your processes) are not preventing good service
- Understand what they think good service should be
- Work on aligning your view and theirs, so they want to get there.
Returning to scuba diving: although my half an hour at the beginning “wasted” time, it ensured I understood peoples motives and values. That is important if you want people to improve client service.
How are you going to start changing the agenda and helping your staff to “get client service?”
Many professionals struggle with the changes that success brings; I am writing a book to help with the difficulties of making this transition. If you own a successful firm that has profitably grown from 5 to 50 employees, I would love to listen to your success secrets. Alternatively if you find yourself struggling getting things done through your supervisors and managers, I would be only to happy to see if some of my experience can help you, for the price of a coffee. Click here for more information about the book.