At Lofty Labs, client services is at our core. We pride ourselves on not just being a development team, but also consultants, and business people. It is vital for our team to stay in close communication with, and truly get to know, our clients. We care about who they are as individuals and their success as a business as a whole. In many instances, our clients become close friends and confidants. This doesn’t happen by mere chance, it takes a lot to build that relationship through trust, and transparency.
Every member of our team is in some way a part of the client services aspect of our business. We have developers that lead meetings, we have a finance director that communicates with our clients on a day to day basis, and we have a marketing team that speaks with our clients directly. With this in mind, we devote much time and effort into thinking about how we as a collective can provide our clients with the best service possible.
We spend a lot of time screening and hiring the employees that have strong communication skills and who fit in with our culture of relationally dealing with our clients. We also make sure that we focus on several values that help us to stay true to our goal of making the client come first.
Here's a list of 5 essential traits for client services success, that you can adopt within your business too:
1. Emotional Intelligence
This is the most important skill to have if you're a person working directly with clients—and it's probably the hardest skill to teach. Good client services people manage their emotions well. They stay positive, composed, and focused on the client and what he or she needs at the time. They don’t get defensive, and don’t take client moods or criticisms personally.
Instead, they realize that their reactions to emotional or unpleasant clients can either make the situation worse, or turn it around into a positive experience for the client—and one that they won’t forget. Emotional intelligence means maintaining a clear view of the big picture and the emotions of everyone around, not just your own.
As the representative of the client, you must have the ability to put yourself in another person’s “shoes” in order to help them solve the problem from their point of view. You want their business to succeed because their success is your success. Sometimes the tension between production and the needs of the client can become very real. It is the job of the entire team to remember that without the client, there is no production and making the client happy is the number one goal.
Few things make a business look worse than failing to do the things you told clients you would do, when you said you’d do them—and few things leave a better impression than when you deliver on your promises. Good client services people remember what they’ve promised their clients, and ensure sure complete the tasks in a timely manner. They understand that their job is important as the liaison between the team and the client. This awareness translates into good work habits: being organized, prioritizing tasks and allowing enough time for the team to complete tasks.
4. Self Reflection
It’s important that employees who interface with clients have a good grasp of their strengths and weaknesses. They learn to rely on their strengths and improve in other areas. Moreover, like all good employees they take responsibility and hold themselves accountable. They don’t make excuses and never, ever blame the client. Everybody makes mistakes, and in those cases, it’s important to own up to it and provide the client with a plan for how things will be resolved.
5. Problem Solving
Good client services is focusing on solving the clients problems, not simply making an effort or stopping at good enough. They realize that the clients rely on them. Consequently, they are determined to provide what clients need: they are resourceful, tenacious, and creative. When situations arise where they can’t find a solution themselves, they do not hesitate to ask for help or notify the team that a problem has arisen.
The Next Steps To Better Client Services
As you might expect, it’s not easy to find people who have all these qualities and everyone will be stronger in some areas than others. That’s why it’s important to clearly communicate exactly what’s expected in client services for each member of the team, and to be sure they understand.
Here at Lofty Labs, we have developed a team client protocol for which everyone is held accountable. We encourage you to create one for your team as well so that you can develop a client process based on learnings, past mistakes, and most of all previous wins to keep everyone on the same page.
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. Taking good care of our clients is a part of who we are and we enjoy it.