Is very often when you see in IT services that the word service is forgotten. The Consultants want to get to the point and start working on the deliverables as soon as possible but, what about the Consultant-Customer relationship? We need to remember that we are persons working with other persons. That means we all have different needs, expectations, troubles, stress, etc.
Probably all of us can understand that we need to take care of the customer needs but, what is the right skill set when we are working with a customer?
Empathy. – Think about it. The customer doesn´t now you or your company, he doesn´t know if spending his money in you is worthy, he is stressed out and need a little bit of “wear my shoes for a minute”
Patience. – Sometimes they reach out to you when they are confused and frustrated and you need to be calmed down and a good listener to understand the problem. The customer would rather get competent service than be rushed out the door.
Attentiveness. – What are your customers saying without saying it? They may not be expressing the problem outright, but perhaps they will throw you some phrases with a “curveball” to see if you catch the problem.
Clear Communication Skills. – One of the difficult ones for me (as I like to give the context of the main point) but… When it comes to the important stuff just keep it simple and leave nothing to doubt.
Use Positive Language. – This can greatly affect how the customer hears your response. I personally believe that this is one of the most important skills as customers create perceptions of you and your company based on the language that you use.
Example without positive language: “I can´t help you with that, I don´t have that information”.
Example with positive language: “Let me contact the person that can provide the information you need”.
I think we can have an exhaustive list of skills but let´s stop here and start practicing! I would like to add that is better (but harder) to build a relationship than just be the “delivery guy”. Finally, if you came across this post and read all the way to the bottom, you likely already have another skill that is applicable not only for service but for life and is Willingness to Learn.
The new world IT Services is not only based on deliverables but also experiences and details that makes a differentiator between companies. I hope you find this article encouraging to improve your service skills and help your customers to feel we care about them.
“You will never have a product or price advantage again. They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can´t be copied” – Jerry Fritz