I know what you’re thinking. This is going to be another blog about client service, jumping through their hoops, the fact that they are always “right”, and how you should always put the customer first. You know all about that, don’t you? I mean, you do know what your company’s client service policy is…
Your company’s customer service credo has been articulated to you, hasn’t it? And you can see it put into play in the workplace every day, right? Your upper and mid- level management walk this talk constantly and consistently, providing a clear-cut example of applied leadership, right?
Of course you will take me over to the framed company mission statement on the lobby wall so I can (and so can you) read something articulate and tangible about their client service ethic that you, personally, can hang your hat on. Correct?
Honestly, what does all that yada-yada-yada really mean in the grand cosmic scheme of things? Most of us operate freestyle when it comes toclient service, service quality delivery, customer sacrifice and customer experience (if we even are familiar with those latter two concepts).
Whether you are an owner, sole proprietor or employee, it should be second nature to treat others as we want ourselves to be treated. The Platinum Rule of Tony Alessandra tells us to treat our customers as they wish to be treated. And Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore tell us in The Experience Economy that we should give our clients a rich and compelling reason to do business with us.
It’s hard to put theory into practice if we, as our company’s internal customers, aren’t treated very well in the first place.
- A sole proprietor? Client service delivery goes up and down upon the waves of our ability and energy to win business. What a virtual economic and emotional roller coaster: win new business and then drop everything and deliver on the won business – ignoring the need to win more business.
- Filling a contractor function? Then you are shape-shifters morphing in and out of whatever is required. We never quite fit into these non-permanent positions. We do busy work and don’t take the time to determine what is required to win a permanent position.
Yet we have customer contact all the time: an amazing incubator in which to learn about customer service delivery, customer experience and customer sacrifice. So aside from a paycheck, what else are you taking the time to learn in order to build your skill sets for your next tour of employment duty?
A different way to think about things in a flat-world business model, huh?
Your attitude towards client service delivery is like your personal beacon on your personal horizon. It basically boils down to defining your core personal values and integrating them into your professional actions, day in and day out.
Your personal core values are what you use to get your bearings, whether you are an owner, sole proprietor or employee. And your personal 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 those are the optimal conditions for your clients to fall in love with you.
- And while your clients may love you, they may not like you. Because they can’t jerk your chains or push you around. They love what you stand for. They respect you.
- Your self-knowledge and consistency represents real value to your clients, and yourself.
- Your clients become loyal to you.
At the end of the day, it’s all about whether your clients feel comfortable doing business with you. And whether or not they trust you. Because you know as well as I do that client relationships can become a real messy affair from time to time.
Base your client relationships on consistent core personal values. Mine are ethics, honesty, integrity and respect. And my clients know this from the git-go. Because I tell them. And they have confidence that I will challenge them to define their core personal values as we collaborate.
Think about how your client relationships – and retention rate – might benefit from their knowing your core personal values. They may just fall in love with you.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers 2013-2016. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? focuses on technical / non-technical collaboration strategies and tools and is available on Amazon.
The original version of this post won in the Favorite Post category of Top Civil Engineering Blogs. The Civil Engineering Central Blog won top overall honors as rated by CivilEngineeringSchools.org.