Spark up a conversation with people about a lousy customer service experience you witnessed and chances are your listeners react by nodding in agreement and adding a story of their own. Whether you deal with external clients or internal colleagues and bosses, you have clients. The challenge is ensuring no one is talking negatively about the service you provide. Do they?
Bad service seems absolutely rampant these days and, as frustrating as that is, this could be good news. Here’s why …
If everyone else is providing bad service, you providing good service makes you stand out.
Just by doing what you say you’re going to do, you will set yourself apart from most. If you promise your boss you’ll have that report ready by tomorrow morning and you do, that builds trust. If you tell a client you’ll call at a certain day and time and you do, you build your reputation as being reliable.
I am constantly reminded of the importance of responsiveness.
If you extend common courtesy and reply promptly to someone asking a question, you position yourself as responsive and professional. Even if you don’t know the full answer, let them know you’re working on it and when you’ll respond in full. If you’re not the right contact, connect them with who is.
Some time ago, I had called a cabinet maker about doing a repair to our kitchen. I waited for three weeks to hear back from him. Nothing. I called him, left a message. No response. Then (wait for it …) my husband called him. Instead of getting his answering machine, as I had done, he happened to catch the fellow on the line as he picked up the call. This tradesperson thought the job was done and promised to give me a call shortly. A week later, I was still waiting. Sigh. Even though he eventually finished the task, my perception of him is poor. I wouldn’t recommend him to others and actually advised friends to stay away from his services.
Here’s the lesson: provide great customer service and you build your reputation.
Now, you may be thinking, “But Marion, I don’t have ‘clients’. I work in an office with a boss and colleagues.” Correction — you indeed have clients. They are internal clients.
Your boss and colleagues are your clients.
How well are you serving them? Coming from a place of service shifts your mindset. It puts you in the frame of mind to ask yourself, “How could I do things differently, better, faster, cheaper, to help get these people what they need?”. Thinking like that leads to innovation and that serves everyone.
For now, think about all the clients you have in your life and how you can better serve them.
Doing so will serve them, you, and your reputation well.
© 2012, updated 2022 Marion Grobb Finkelstein
©2022 Marion Grobb Finkelstein (MarionSpeaks)
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
Recipient of APEX “Award for Leadership in Service Innovation”
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