One of my clients, a successful independent practitioner, is constantly faced with complaints from one of her clients about not returning calls, emails, or sharing face to face meeting time when “he” wants. The client feels his needs are a priority and she should respond within a particular timeframe and she feels that he’s not her only client, therefore he must wait in line until he’s in the front of the queue.
It seems simple enough that they could just have a conversation and resolve this issue, however each of them is right about their position as far as they are concerned and neither of them should bend for the other. This scenario also rings true in the corporate world, when your boss has an expectation of getting something done much faster than is feasible.
It’s quite easy to feel frustration in situations like these but what do you do when the frustration has taken its toll and you feel that this is just not going to work. The client you thought was an ideal client is now, the client from well….HELL! And your boss, well he’s from Mars!
The first place you may consider is how well you are providing customer service. In either case, you are serving a client. Most leaders don’t think of providing customer service internally, as much as they do to their clients who purchase their company’s product or service, but they are. The question lies in whether or not the customer service is exceptional, mediocre or simply plain poor?
Perhaps if you continue to find (f3) – fault, frustration and friction – you might consider it is simply plain poor! Ultimately, everyone wants to feel appreciated, valued and honored. However, the very first place to look is Customer Service where those feelings just come as a by-product.
Here are a few steps that will move you towards exceptional customer service:
1. Be very clear about what the client wants. To provide exceptional customer service, you must know what the customer wants.
2. Have a system and process for providing exceptional customer service. Establish the ground rules. Be very clear about how the customer service process works. Test it, deliver it, and perfect it.
3. Determine common ground. Establish agreeable terms that lead to mutual understanding of how your working relationship will unfold.
4. Create a scorecard. How will you know you are meeting the client’s expectations? How do you measure your success?
5. Quality Control. Allow client feedback for training purposes and future success. No-one can tell you better than the client how well you’re performing.
If you follow these few steps, you will find that everyone is on the same page and expectations are being met; all through the approach of providing exceptional service.
The next time you find yourself pulling your hair out because of your boss or customer from Mars, check your customer service rating. It may be that you don’t have a sufficient customer service process and therefore there is no rating. You simply missed the mark altogether.
Lisa Thomas is the CEO of The P3 Group, Inc. and The P3 Group International, LLC, publisher of The P3 Power Boost Online Magazine, host of The P3 Power Boost Radio Show, and President of the Board of Directors of NetWorth. She is a 20-year veteran in business, executive leadership and performance coaching/consulting. She has worked extensive with corporate call centers, executives and small business enterprises. She’s been a featured columnist and business strategist on Affiliate NPR, WFDD, The Cary News, Fox 8 and numerous NBC affiliate stations.
Lisa is best known for her business and leadership acumen and is widely recognized her ability to develop leaders to be more effective. Lisa is also a sought after keynote speaker on various topics women in leadership face. She generously donates her time and expertise to a number of organizations and worthy causes, including NetWorth, the Business Succession Forum Network, and the Hazel B. Neal Foundation, for which she recently was recognized with the woman of Power, Purpose and Vision award. In her downtime, she can be found practicing yoga, cycling, swimming, reading a good book or spending time with family and friends.
CEO/Sr. Business Strategist
The P3 Group, Inc.
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