Customer service is the process of ensuring customer satisfaction with a product or service. Often, customer service takes place while performing a transaction for the customer, such as making a sale or returning an item. Customer Service is also the most efficient way to grow your business. Put plainly, Customer Service is competing effectively.
“89% of companies now expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience.” — GARTNER RESEARCH
You’re now asking “Well how does this apply to a digital transformation project?” More succinctly, you’re wondering how this applies to an individual that will be tasked with leading a program from the consultant side of the bench? With my over twenty-five years plus of experience, I boil being “successful” down into these following steps. Of which, make my customer experience that I provide my clients a more profitable, transparent and enjoyable experience.
I would challenge you to do something out of the gate. Listen to understand, not just to respond. YES, you know a lot of the questions. YES you were hired for both answers and to ask questions they might not know to ask. But you will learn more about the culture, more about the company and moreover win hearts and minds if you just listen first.
Empathy the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Truly understanding this will be paramount in each and every project you are a part of. Regardless of how many times you’ve done this (and the more times you have is why you’re being hired to help) it is essential that you approach the client knowing this is their first time. There are a lot of fears and unknowns they are dealing with, and your Job is to assist, not dictate. In the end, it IS the client who the project is about.
Your knowledge is what you were hired for. It’s the reason you were put in the game, and it’s something that you should take pride in, the more experience and knowledge you gain throughout your career. Just as important a part as the knowledge you bring, is the way in which you deliver it. Being Friendly is oft time not something that is given out in large scale digital transformation projects. Often overlooked, it’s one of the main things you will be remembered by, and how you will get your next gig.
“I don’t trust anyone who’s nice to me but rude to the waiter. Because they would treat me the same way if I were in that position.” — Muhammad Ali
I love that quote!
Honesty is paramount. Yes this is always an understood, however I find it lacking more times than not in the digital transformation project world. From SI’s to niche vendors, negotiations and reality more times than not are farther apart than they should be. Clarity gets muddied in delivery and then a program can deteriorate because of district, thus derailing a much needed project into overruns, additional (unneeded) costs, and concessions that really should not have to happen. Being honest is how I have built my reputation, and my career. If I do not know something, I make that clear. I do not compromise when delivering reporting and the landscape ahead as I view it. In the end I know the client has been given all the variables and is able to make an informed decision. This is the best that can be delivered from a leadership perspective.
Lastly, I learn. I learn from my mistakes. I learn from my client’s mistakes. I learn from the other companies involved. I also learn what worked correctly. I even work to know at least one thing that I didn’t know going into each project that stood out to me as something integral. THIS is what will bring additional value to my next client.