I made a unique observation last night on the train home. Wednesdays are “Matinee Day” on Broadway, and as usual the train was crowded with riders who normally do not take the train. These people could be identified by the Playbills in their hands and the “deer in the headlight look” in their eyes as they boarded what they hoped was the right train home.
Enter two couples who split up to find seats. Phil and his wife from Milford, PA, just back from seeing the musical Memphis, sat behind me. The unusual part was their use of words like “may I,” “please,” “thank you,” “pardon me,” and “excuse me.” They even told the person in the three-seater that they were sorry to squeeze in and asked if it was OK, responding with a “thank you very much” when he said yes.
They were extremely polite, to the point that as the train cleared out they actually asked the conductor if it was OK if they switched seats. I was taken by the kindness they gave naturally and even told them so at the end of the trip. Clearly this couple was genuine in their manner, and it told me this came from the heart and was grown at home. Yes, Mother was right when she told us to say “thank you” and be polite, and maybe this is something that is rare in today’s world. It was alive and well on the train last night, though, that is for sure.
Client service should always be polite and professional to the extreme, and in today’s business model, it could mean the life or death of a business. Poor client service can be measured in loss of revenue, loss of market share, and loss of good public opinion. It’s not enough to say the customer is always right––what should be happening is an open dialogue based on trust and civility. When something does arise, clients will be more willing to work with someone they trust and who can be polite.
I then started to think about the customer service that I offer my clients. I always consider myself polite, but was I going the extra yard? I then considered the people I work with and my team in particular. Client service is not a department––it is everyone’s job. Our motto of “99% Right is 100% Wrong” is a core belief that keeps us motivated every day. We can never take our clients for granted.
What we can do to improve:
Greet our clients by name whenever possible and often.
Ask how we can help.
Listen to our clients and fulfill their needs
Bring that extra touch than invites clients back again and again.
Use words like “thank you,” “please,” and “may I” in every conversation.
“Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you are in business. Yes, and that is also true if you are a housewife, architect or engineer.”
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
Author: Tom Caska