In any service industry, how you manage your clients is critical. With so many companies and services going remote, it’s more important than ever to evaluate your approach to customer service and identify ways to provide more value to your customers. Recently, we had a training session with Phillip Weiss of P. A. Weiss Leadership Solutions, a client of Remote COO since 2015. He provided some great tips on managing clients we’re happy to share in the hopes that they help you as well.
Three Key Tips on Managing Clients
1 – Avoid Hot Button Issues
Take the time to know your clients. What’s important to them? How do they like to communicate? Alternatively, what do they dislike? What are their hot button issues? Knowing what upsets your clients is equally as important as knowing what pleases them. For instance, some clients get annoyed when meetings are moved or when you fail to communicate using a certain medium. Knowing these things helps you avoid hot topics and maintain a positive relationship.
2 – Set Expectations
Another key focus is expectations. All too often, unhappy clients result from misunderstandings. Many times, one party will assume something is included in a proposal because, in their mind, it wouldn’t make sense otherwise. Alternately, the other party intentionally didn’t mention that item in the proposal because it is not something they plan to include.
Here’s a simple example. A contractor quotes the construction of a deck placed just 2 feet off the ground. The proposal states the size of the deck, materials to be used, etc. It makes no mention of railings. Once completed, the customer is unhappy because the deck is missing railings and is therefore incomplete. From the customer’s perspective, why would anyone build a deck without railings? From the contractor’s perspective, low decks don’t normally have railings, which is why it wasn’t mentioned or included in the proposal.
Who is right and who is wrong? It really doesn’t matter. The fact is the contractor now has an unhappy customer. This situation could have been avoided by setting clear expectations during discussions and in the formal proposal. Being conscious of this can help you avoid problems and create positive customer experiences.
3 – Speak the Truth
Telling a customer they’re wrong can be difficult to do. By nature, we avoid conflict and difficult situations. But when it comes to providing a service, people hire you for your knowledge and experience. This sometimes means advising clients to consider different options and solutions. You can’t go wrong with speaking the truth for the benefit of your clients. Just keep in mind how you present recommendations matters, and you may need to be strategic in your approach.
More Tips on Managing Clients
As service providers, we often play the role of business coach. Coaching is not telling people what to do but guiding them to make educated decisions. Whether you provide B2B or B2C services, it’s important to listen and ask thought-provoking questions. Helping your clients reach a conclusion on their own is much more powerful than telling them your recommended solution. It also ensures the service you’re providing truly meets their needs.
About Phillip Weiss
We’d like to extend a big thank you to Phillip Weiss for not only being a client but for also using his expertise to help our team become better service providers. Phillip is an organizational consultant and executive coach specializing in leadership development and workplace relationships. He possesses over 32 years of corporate experience. Phillip is an expert in organization assessment, leadership selection and development, leadership transitions, turnarounds, mergers & acquisitions, performance management, and employee relations. He has coached at all levels within organizations, from CEOs to star individual contributors. We hope that Phillip’s advice, outlined in this article, is as helpful to you as it was to our team!