Every B2B business aspires to be recognised for its client service. Many organisations say they are, whether or not that’s true.
If you’ve worked in an organisation that truly does excel at client service, you’ll understand the culture, values and behaviours that are necessary to create and sustain such an environment.
Exceptional client service means being responsive – returning emails and phone calls within a reasonable period.
Exceptional client service means being accessible – not surrounding yourself with gatekeepers, having an open-door policy, being approachable.
Exceptional client service involves regular and open communication – keeping clients abreast of the progress of work, managing expectations.
Exceptional client service means being on time, prepared, delivering on your promises, being accountable.
Now, how many of you have worked in organisations that afford staff the same courtesy and respect they do their clients? This is the hallmark of a truly great business.
One of my agency’s clients has mastered client care. Its clients are loyal. They refer. They recommend.
Yet, over time, I’ve noticed the organisation treats its staff very differently to the way it treats its clients. Understand, there’s nothing wrong with the firm’s remuneration and employee benefits offerings, or even with the firm’s policies and procedures. The failure is that the firm’s stated values are often not reflected by the behaviour of its senior executives.
It’s common for senior executives to be late – sometimes hours late – for internal meetings.
It’s not uncommon for senior executives to miss meetings altogether.
It’s common for senior executives to ignore emails, to be unresponsive, uncommunicative.
It’s common to have to chase and chase and chase senior executives for direction and approval.
Not only are these behaviours costing the business money – for example, in lost time as staff members sit idle waiting for a meeting that might never take place – they are potentially costing it the respect of its people.
Respect, once lost, is difficult to regain.
My contention is this: if you wouldn’t behave one way with a client, you shouldn’t behave that way with an employee.
To excel in business and be regarded as an employer of choice, treat your staff as you do your clients.