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Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. Joan W. Maddox Vice President of Client Services Best Practices in Client Service
Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. What is the difference? Customer vs. Client
Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. How do you define Client Service? As Defined by Websters Dictionary : Assistance and other resources that a company provides to the people who buy or use its products or services
Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. What do the words Client Service mean to you? Customer relations is an integral part of your job-not an extension of it. William B. Martin
Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. R eliable Reliability means keeping the Service Promise – doing what you say you will do for the client. Failing to meet a client expectation has the same impact as breaking a promise. To the client, the Service Promise has three parts: –Organizational Commitments – Organizations can make direct promises through: Direct advertising and marketing material Company correspondence, such as polices and service guarantees Clients may hold organizations to promises they believe are standard for the industry –Common Expectations – Your clients bring additional expectations with them to every service transaction. This may occur due to: Past experiences with you and other service providers: clients make assumptions about what you can and cant do for them –Personal Promises – Most promises made to a client come from you. These are promises you make when you tell a client, I will check on that leak and get right back with you. or We should be there to fix your AC by 10am today. Customer expectations of service organizations are loud and clear; look good, be responsive, be reassuring through courtesy and competence, be empathetic but, most of all, be reliable. Do what you said you would do. Keep the service promise. Dr. Leonard BerryCustomer expectations of service organizations are loud and clear; look good, be responsive, be reassuring through courtesy and competence, be empathetic but, most of all, be reliable. Do what you said you would do. Keep the service promise. Dr. Leonard Berry
Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. R eliable-continued The Service Promise can be managed. Once you know what your clients do and do not expect, the promise that you want to make, you can then shape your Clients expectations to match what you can actually can and will do for them. Sometimes promises made with the best intentions cant be kept. As much as we strive to provide exceptional Client service, we may drop the ball on occasion. Not everything that affects your Clients experience is in your control. When you discover a promise has been broken, first you must apologize. Dont waste time trying to blame someone else. Admit something went wrong and immediately find out what the Clients needs are now. The broken commitment may have caused other issues.
Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. Responsive Responsive is defined as the willingness to help a client promptly. Deadlines are important when determining responsiveness: –Deadlines are created by people. When you commit to a specific time, you are creating an expectation – a promise. –Be realistic – once created, deadlines become a measurement of your success or failure. –Great client service results from creating acceptable, realistic expectations of responsiveness in your clients minds and meeting those expectations. Dissatisfaction is not always measured in minutes. A lot of times dissatisfaction is often the result of not knowing. Research shows that the most frustrating aspect of waiting is not knowing how long the wait will be. Be aware of what your clients think is an acceptable wait.
Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. Reassuring Reassuring is managing your clients feelings of TRUST. Their decision to trust you is built on a foundation of honesty, knowledge and know-how. When you provide great client service, your actions assure your clients they are doing business with a well-trained, knowledgeable service professional. Skills required to build reassurance: –Product Knowledge – clients expect you to know the features, advantages and benefits of whatever it is that you service or deliver. –Company Knowledge – clients expect you to know more than the limits of your job. They expect you to know how your organization works. –Listening – clients expect you to listen, understand and RESPOND to their specific request or need. (Hearing is the physical process of receiving a message; LISTENING is the mental process of deciding to pay attention to the message.) –Problem-Solving- clients expect you will be able to recognize their needs as they express them and be able to quickly align them with the services you can provide. When things go wrong or dont work, they expect you to know how to fix things and fix them quickly! I always wanted to fully understand the situation before I made a commitment. It finally dawned on me that my customer needs the assurance of my commitment before hell give me time to understand the problem. Customer Service Rep
Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. Empathetic Empathy means acknowledging and affirming anothers emotional state. It is important to understand the difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy involves identifying with and even taking on, another persons emotions. –When you respond with empathy, you stay calm and in control of yourself. Only then are you at the top of your game; ready, willing and able to help your client and solve the problem. –Showing empathy makes your clients feel like important individuals. There is no substitute for the human touch.
Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. Tangibles Client service is difficult to describe in tangible, physical terms. The best rule of thumb regarding the tangible service you manage is: Never give something to clients you would be reluctant, embarrassed or upset to get yourself. There are three ways you can demonstrate the value of the service you provide: –Take pride in your own appearance and the look and feel of the materials you give out to your clients. –When clients give you their name, phone number, etc., write it down. This shows you think the information they are providing is important. –Make sure the parts of your workplace clients see or come in contact with are clean, safe and as comfortable as possible for your client. First impressions are the most lasting. Proverb
Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. Client Service is a commitment The commitment to provide great client service is one that must be made by management, as well as your staff. It must not be an option, but a requirement of your job. Excellent employees know what needs to be done. The typical employee is unsure. For all employees to aspire to excellence, your values and strategies must be clearly defined. And most importantly, you must communicate these values and strategies to all employees.
Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. How do I know if I am providing great client service? A survey is your first step. You need a data point to start your journey. Once the survey is complete, READ the responses! (Be prepared to read surveys that may not be very flattering. Perception is reality.) Compile your results and share them with your staff. Create an action plan and share it with your clients. It is important that your clients know you read and use the valuable data provided and their time was not wasted. Survey on a regular basis, such as quarterly or semi- annually.
Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. Good rules of thumb when responding to client concerns/issues Whatever commitments or promises you make to your client, it is critical you keep them. If you fail to do so, you will lose the trust of your clients. Ask questions, make notes, even repeat what the client told you so that there can be no misunderstanding as to the clients concern/issue. If you informed a client you would accomplish something and later find it is not possible or will take longer than expected, make sure to tell them. (Communication!) NEVER blame another department or employee. Do not take any complaint personally.
Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. Good rules of thumb when responding to client concerns/issues; (cont.) Never insinuate that something is the fault of the client. The client needs to feel validated. Assume responsibility. Building relationships with our clients is critical in ensuring the clients convey their concerns to us. How to say No is the art of offering alternatives, options or suggestions to your clients. Clients judge the quality of your department by judging the responsiveness of the first person they come in contact with to discuss their problem.
Maintenance Success without Software Maintenance SM © 2002, All Rights Reserved. In Summary: Treat your clients the way you want to be treated.
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