A New Era for Client Services
Client services is a fascinating topic. Whether you are a client or a service provider, you are going to experience good and “not so good” practices. When I was younger, I remember how my parents were treated as clients/customers. They were referred to as ma’am or sir, thoughtful answers were given quickly, and the service provider’s presentation of self/office was orderly. By this, I mean they were often wearing suits, offices were organized, and the overall presentation of themselves and their business was impressive.
A few months back, I called my cell phone provider to fix a problem. You see, I couldn’t address this issue in the store, because the company is set up to only handle these particular issues over the phone. Therefore, the only customer experience I had with them was my phone treatment. My representative held an incredibly professional tone reminiscent of the days of my childhood. You could tell she had been working in that position a long time. She called me “ma’am,” but with a tone of utter respect (I’m sure you’ve spoken with those people who call you ma’am and sir as if they’ve been given a quota to meet in a single phone call…this was not like that). She had genuine concern for my issue and worked hard to correct it. I ended that call feeling relief knowing my issue had been resolved, and I was in good hands. A few weeks later, I called them again to make some general plan changes. This time I spoke with a gentleman who often said “cool” and “man” to me. He did not refer to me as “ma’am,” though I think he did call me “dude” at one point. He was in a different department than the woman I spoke to previously. I would guess he hadn’t been there more than a year.
The point of my story is that the customer service industry is in a great transition period. In this example, I found we were moving from professional conversation to informal banter. Forbes’ “The Evolution of Customer Service” compares certain aspects of customer service from past to present. Author Blake Morgan points out that more companies are streamlining their programming to allow information across all channels rather than forcing the customer to repeat themselves again. My cell phone provider is certainly implementing this type of technology. The gentleman I spoke with stated early that he saw I had called not long ago. That was great to know I didn’t have to repeat my prior issue to him. She goes on to say that “the customer experience landscape is ripe for disruption.” I love how she puts that. This trend of companies promoting positive customer experience is fantastic, but it seems like presentation and respect are being pushed to the wayside. Nothing will cause me to lose faith in a company faster than walking into their office to see a disheveled employee with a wanton disregard for respect. When I see a sharp office with warm welcoming smiles, I am instantly at ease knowing my needs are being taken seriously and will be handled with care.
I recognize I am a very particular kind of customer. I hold companies to a high standard. If I am going to invest my money in them, no matter the sum, I expect quality service and attention. If I don’t get it, I simply leave to another company. Why? I have spent my career working with customers and clients and have always bent over backwards for them. I believe they deserve the best I can give them. Every client project is important regardless of size or scope, and if I can’t help them, then I’ll find someone who can. I’m thankful that here at Morrison we have a diverse team with staff from all different backgrounds, and we love to help one another solve problems and succeed. Whether you’re working with myself, Geoff, Hilary, or Shawn, you’re really working with all eleven of us. Now that’s a good investment.
About the Author
+Michelle Genova is a consultant at Morrison, providing business valuations, business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, and strategic planning), feasibility studies, recruitment, interim executive CFO services, competitive grant writing and special projects that don't fit into any conventional category. You can contact Michelle directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone at 530-893-4764 ext. 209.