Last week, I had one of the most rewarding experiences in client services yet: a blogger I outreached to offered to give me a LinkedIn recommendation. I was both pleased and surprised at this offer. It’s not often that client or customer service positions receive such positive feedback.
Working in client services at any company requires a lot of mental and emotional strength as we are often the first representatives of a brand and need to communicate with the public on a daily basis. At times, you’ll hear about wonderful stories (like mine) or horror stories (involving an unhappy client or customer).
Whether good or bad, one thing will always remain true in client services: the client is always right.
From my experience in dealing with both positive and negative bloggers and clients, here’s how to deliver exceptional client service.
Once you know your brand well, you will also know your users – if not better. To provide the best client services, you have to understand both the strengths and weaknesses of your product and/or service, and how to anticipate client questions and needs.
At Atomic Reach, one of our more frequent questions involves setting up our Streamer app. As this is the case, I have not only familiarized myself with the process, but I can give you the step-by-step instructions without having the platform in front of me.
By anticipating your client’s questions and needs, you can serve them, not only faster, but better.
Client services is about serving your clients, no matter the time or day. Your clients may be in different time zones or even across the globe, but you have to be ready to answer questions or assist in campaigns. Be sure to make yourself available by e-mail, phone or even video — don’t be afraid to speak face-to-face. By being readily accessible, you make that additional effort that clients will appreciate and remember you by.
For the blogger who offered to write a LinkedIn recommendation for me, I made sure to be available over the weekend to assist her with our platform. It tells me that I’ve succeeded in providing exceptional service when she was willing to go the extra mile for me.
Remember Compassion and Patience
As a client services professional, you will sometimes need to educate your client on your services and features. Remember that they are eager to learn and that you need to be patient — treat them as the professionals they are and they will treat you the same. Chances are, the first time you joined the client services team, you, too, were not familiar with your product or brand.
As expressed by Raphael Caixeta from Six Revisions: “If you were in their shoes and were being treated the way you’re treating them, would you enjoy that experience? If so, you’re doing a good job. If not, you probably want to get a little better. It’s important to constantly evaluate the way you communicate with others. Our profession is heavily reliant on communication skills.”
As a client services professional, your first priority is to assist your clients with any questions, concerns or issues they may have. Be ready and prompt with answers, and always provide solutions. If you cannot find the solution immediately, be honest with your client and find an answer. If a project goes awry, don’t delay from telling the client as they appreciate the transparency. Remember that some issues require skillsets from different departments to be resolved.
“Here’s a secret: clients do not expect you to be perfect,” writes Jeremy Girard on Smashing Magazine. “They do, however, expect you to be honest. When something goes wrong, let them know quickly so that they are not blindsided by the issue later on. And never deliver bad news by email. Picking up the phone to discuss the news lets you reassure the client and answer any questions they may have.”
Working in client services can sometimes be a roller coaster, but the best advice is to be level-headed and knowledgeable. You can provide a service by doing your job, and then you can provide exceptional client service by going beyond expectations.
Girard says it best: “Exceptional client service is about going beyond what is realistically expected of you. It is about surprising, and often delighting, customers, turning them into enthusiastic referral sources and lifelong clients who stick with you not only because you do great work at a fair price, but because the value you bring to them goes far beyond just your products.”
Have I missed something? Do you have some great client service stories to tell? Share and discuss below. We’d love to hear from you!