There is an old saying that resonates in all aspects of life. “Respect is earned.” A very wise former Manager of mine reminded his staff that we must respect our customers at all times. In business, the customer is not our only client. Our co-workers are our internal clients. The customer isn’t always right, but every person deserves to be treated with respect and in adherence with the golden rule: “Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.” There will be times when these adages are not being followed by your customer.
• It is okay to respectfully disagree with a client, however there’s a right way and a wrong way to articulate the organization’s point of view. The resolution to an issue may or may not address the client’s concern form his or her perspective.
• Communicating effectively when the client may perceive a request or a complaint is not addressed the way that the customer would like is of extreme importance. The customer will appreciate the fact that they’ve been heard and that their concerns have been acknowledged.
• Document, document, document. Communication is the key to excellent customer service. Not everyone learns or comprehends the same way. There are times when a conversation is more effective than an e-mail. When you’re speaking with a customer, they can hear the tone in your voice and pick up on nonverbal cues that an e-mail just can’t convey. When information is communicated verbally, follow up reiterating what was said and agreed to in an email. This way, there’s a record verifying the conversation, and everyone is on the same page.
Regardless of the position one holds within an organization, recognizing the importance of each person’s function to the success of the company helps to create a more cohesive work environment. Every employee has an important role, independently and as a team, to adhere to the processes, procedures, and guidelines, to ensure that the company is successful.
• The Owner or CEO of an organization plans, budgets and works so that the company’s vision and success will come to fruition.
• It has been said that the janitors carry and distribute the most important paper in an organization!
• Every level and department in an organization matters. If an area is weak, the company may not succeed to the level that it should.
• Treating everyone with respect creates an environment where ideas, knowledge and experience are freely exchanged and where people support one another. Such a team environment allows the organization to thrive, expand, retain and attract the best people.
The “sundown rule” (answer all e-mails or return all phone calls by the end of the business day) is a good rule to follow. Occasionally, it will be necessary to take time to gather all of the pertinent information to accurately respond to a client’s concern or request. Let them know that! Even if you respond advising them that you will get back to them at a later date, their concern has been acknowledged and they’re aware that you’re working on a resolution or response. When the customer is happy, the business will thrive. Word of mouth endorsements and referrals can be as, or even more effective than paid advertisements.
Team Work: Be excited to work for your company! The more successful each individual is, the more successful your team will be.
• Working as a team, with mutual respect and effective communication, provides an opportunity for each individual to succeed and as a result, the organization will grow.
• Give credit where credit is due. Engaged employees are happy and productive employees! Happy clients are committed clients. It’s a win-win for all!