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Nope. This is not going to be another blog post about client service and the importance of putting the customer first. You know all about that, don’t you? I mean, you DO know what your company’s client service policy is. This has been articulated to you, hasn’t it? And you can see it put into play in the workplace every day, right?
I know you can all point to your company’s mission statement and read something articulate and tangible about their client service ethic that you, personally, can hang your hat on. Correct?
Most of us operate freestyle when it comes to client service. Of course, the company will tell us we need to put the customer first and serve client needs first and foremost. But what does all that yada-yada really mean in the grand cosmic scheme of things?
Whether you are an owner, principal, sole proprietor or employee, it should be second nature to treat others as we want ourselves to be treated. But it’s hard to put theory into practice if we, as our company’s internal clients, aren’t treated very well in the first place.
If we are sole proprietors – or even a company of less than five individuals – our attitudes and ability to translate our skill sets into excellence in client service go up and down upon the waves of our ability and energy to win business. We are torn in two directions: win new business and then drop everything and deliver on the won business – ignoring the need to win more business. We find ourselves on a virtual economic and emotional roller coaster.
If we are a contractor, we morph in and out of whatever is required of us in our new surroundings. Perhaps we never quite fit into those short term positions. Perhaps we don’t the time to figure out what is required to win a permanent position over the long run. But we have customer contact all the time, even if it’s with our internal clients.
Each of us needs to determine what our individual attitude is towards client service and deliver against it, consistently. Regardless of the environment in which we find ourselves working. In spite of the clients for which we find ourselves working. Your attitude towards client service is like your personal beacon on your personal horizon. It basically boils down to defining your core values and integrating them into your personal and professional actions, day in and day out.
Your core values are what you use to get your bearings, whether you are an owner, sole proprietor or employee. And your core values are what your employers and clients can expect, no matter what. And with that type of consistency, you will respect yourself and, yes, here it comes: love yourself. And that’s the best way to achieve having your clients fall in love with you. They may not like you because they can’t jerk your chains or push you around. But they will respect you and, many times, return to you for repeat business. Your self-knowledge and consistency represents real value to your clients, and yourself.
Having your clients fall in love with you should be effortless. It’s not about wooing them and winning them over with glitzy dog-and-pony show presentations and meals. It’s not about always being the lowest price on projects. At the end of the day it’s about whether your clients feel comfortable doing business with you and whether or not they trust you. Because client relations can become a real messy affair.
You need to think about basing your client relationships on consistent core values. Mine are ethics, honesty, integrity and respect. And my clients know this from the git-go. Because I tell them.
Think about how your client relations – and retention rate – would benefit from your clients knowing your core values. Would they fall in love with you?