There’s no use denying it, we all have clients in some form or another. I’ve worked with clients for almost my entire career. And I think that it could be both a joy and a trouble.
You work with people, and people can be contrary, difficult, or delightful. I choose to believe that they are the latter before I judge, and most of my clients have turned out to be just that.
I want to highlight the difference between a customer and a client; a customer buys something, a client uses the services and advice of a professional. I’ve always called them clients, rightly or wrongly. And I prefer the word.
I could say that this is my mission;
‘The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.’ – Sam Walton
Client/customer service is simple: the client comes first. I don’t believe in the statement that the client is always right because he/she isn't. But the customer is king.
So, the way I deal with clients; professional, polite, kind, knowledgeable, and humour. These five pillars have always worked for me. Professionalism and politeness need no further explanation. And nobody will use your service/buy your offerings if you don’t know your subject. It’s perhaps easy to gain an interview or an enquiry, but without the supporting knowledge, then you will clearly go nowhere with that client.
It seems to me that kindness is a relatively rare commodity in our world. Empathy and sympathy could form part of the concept. And humour makes everything better!
‘Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ – Damon Richards
You have to try to find some kind of connection with your clients; perhaps you like the same sports, the opera, food, TV shows. You’ll only discover this if you listen. Listen, listen, listen. Enough said?
I used to supply specialized ink to the credit card printing industry. A client urgently needed a specific colour which we ordered from the UK via airfreight, in this instance. On a particular Friday afternoon, the plane has landed and now I’m charging to the airport to collect it from the courier company. Then I charged to the client to deliver the ink so that they could print over the weekend. Monday morning when I walked in, the ink was still in reception, right where I left it. Do you have any idea how angry I was? It’s the cry-wolf scenario and it upset me terribly. But, it was a client, and a good one. (Turns out that I later worked for them.)
Because spectacular client service is the cornerstone of any successful business.
‘Good service is good business.’ – Siebel Ad
It can also lead to great professional and personal relationships. My best friend is a former client.
Do you know the feeling you get when a client is grateful/pleased/satisfied and he’s not afraid to say so? It’s tremendous. It makes you feel proud and gives you hope that you’re on the right path.
I had the marketing team of a large bank in South Africa as clients. They had cases full of French champagne as part of a marketing strategy, and I also received a bottle. Yum yum! It was only when I left the company that I realised the extent of the marvellous relationships that I’ve established.
If you are someone’s client, be nice to your supplier. The service you receive will rapidly improve.
In my current position as owner of The CV Branch, I’ve found this to be true:
‘Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.’ – Chip Bell
Enjoy your clients/customers, it can only improve your workday.