Industry Transferable Customer Service

Having just celebrated my daughter’s first birthday and taken a two week break it reminded me of this blog from a year ago which I’ve tweaked to bring it right up to date….this time last year I had just spent a couple of weeks putting life back into perspective with the addition of a daughter to our family and it got me thinking about how easy it is to get wrapped up in Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Social Media, Email, WWW etc. etc. etc.

How easy it is to get stuck in something of a rut whilst trawling through the daily deluge of information, however it may find its way into our consciousness.
I have enjoyed the near total break from the daily grind but of course the corollary to this is that it’s reminded me how we need to focus our efforts on the basis that I and you have a finite capacity to our living day….whether we  like it or not!   In a work context of course the same applies and for our customers, how we interact is equally true.
In my most recent posting Customer Service In  A Downturn – To Invest Or Not I touched on a number of focus areas and I want to return briefly to “what’s important to a customer”.

This is all the more important at this time of high mobility and transition within the employment market place.
The premise here is that there is a simple core to providing customer service that I would advocate is universal and highly transportable.  Such aspects as common courtesy, active
listening, making and delivering on commitments, providing honest answers….I don’t need to preach to the choir here as you know where I’m coming from.  It’s the bits that make the
interaction productive and meaningful. What are probably less clear however and potentially less transportable are the aspects of customer service that are more industry specific and which you need to be more aware of when developing a new, or enhancing an existing capability.

It’s not my intention here to simply list out what is and what is not important per industry – as I said at the outset, I, like you, have a finite capacity in terms of time.  However, what I do want to do is encourage you to be cognoscente of the fact that when selling a proposal to your stakeholders, or when selling your experience to a prospective new employer in an interview, you can add real value by talking not only about the deliverable, but by also talking about the process for validating your proposal for this particular market space. That additional perspective will add 100% more value to your personal solution.

  • it demonstrates tangible personal experience
  • it reinforces a forward thinking approach to issues
  • it exemplifies the fact that you have done some prep beforehand.
  • In other words, think about how you can validate your experience and personal worth to the solution, the project and the organisation.
  • avoid the temptation to utilise a one size fits all approach
  • avoid making life difficult or challenging for your customers…Gaye Andrews talks about
  • “keeping the customer’s life simple”
  • avoid making assumptions about what customers want in terms of the customer
  • experience and its supporting processes…don’t be afraid to ask them what they want
  • utilise colleagues and industry best practice information to qualify your ideas in/out
  • be prepared to communicate change proactively and positively with your customers
  • consider a “test launch” to a sample group
  • ensure you have a process for feedback
  • be honest with your customers in relation to the reasons for change
  • be prepared to modify your approach based on feedback received

Nigel Beane is the owner of Colebrook Consulting,  Enabling  Your Competitive Advantage.
www.colebrook-consulting.com

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