Articles tagged "Customer Service"
In just the past few days, how many times have you been disappointed in the quality of service, responsiveness, and basic courtesy you’ve experienced? If you’re like me, it’s happening more and more often, and it’s so prevalent, that it’s becoming the norm. The level of service or performance we’re experiencing more often than not, is so low, our expectations of ‘good’ service have also been lowered.
If I were to ask each of your managers to rate how well they and their teams are being served by other departments within your company, which of the eight options listed below would they choose?
What do you do when the contract that's just been signed with the client, is no longer in their best interest or yours? Renegotiate the contract. Change the contract. Rewrite the contract to fix the real issue and achieve a better win-win scenario. Right? It seems like an easy enough solution, but why doesn't it happen as often as it should? Why do so many project managers avoid renegotiating contracts?
They don't realize what their real jobs as project managers are.
Project managers are supposed to deliver what clients want, have requested, and need (in the clients' opinions.) Too often though, project managers abide by the old adage, "The customer is not always right, but the customer is always the customer." By doing so, project managers fail to provide their expert guidance and instead allow clients or customers to determine what they believe is in their own best solution. All too often, what the clients believe they need is wrong. The clients don't have expertise in identifying the root causes and appropriate fixes. The project managers do - or should. Yet many project managers prefer to stick their heads in the sand and simply implement the project plans step-by-step according to the predefined plans, budgets, and schedules. Success! Wrong.
Clients expect project managers to be their guides.
Clients expect project managers to be their partners in developing their solutions. Clients expect project managers to be the experts in identifying better ways to reach their objectives. Clients expect project managers to be professional, upfront, honest, and communicative. Clients expect project managers to foresee needed changes, identify effective fixes, and provide cleaner paths to solutions. Clients don't want to be blind-sided by issues that were known weeks if not months before by the project managers. Clients don't want their project managers to simply plug away at punch lists with no real thought about what they're doing or how to do it better. Clients don't want machines; they want partners.
Project partners work for mutual gain and don't hide from that fact.
The most effective project managers understand their roles as project managers is to be partners, consultants, and guides. As such, they provide the needed expertise in helping their clients to understand the rationale for better ways to address the contracted issues. They don't run from changes or the opportunities to renegotiate contracts. They look forward to them because a better solution will result - for everyone. Effective project managers have no fear in communicating clearly about needed changes or about their need to bill for services. If changes are needed, there's a reason and the project managers are the guides to explain why. Project managers don't need to run from the explanations, project managers just simply need to explain: Why the changes are in the clients' best interests and why the changes may result in additional fees. There's nothing to hide if the project managers have been doing what is expected. There's nothing to hide if the project managers are doing their job instead of just doing what the contracts say.
So, are you doing your job?
Copyright MMXIV - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. If you want help to learn how to start doing your job, give us a call or visit Liz on LinkedIn!
As we draw close to Christmas, I thought I'd share this article from my archives as it reminds me of a special person. It also causes me to focus on how important each person we come in contact with is...
I received an email from Jackie, a former client, the day after Christmas. Her e-mail informed me a gentleman, who had attended one of the training programs I presented to her organization, over two years ago, had died of lung cancer. She wanted to tell me about Al's passing, because my program had made an impact on him. Jackie also knew my memories of him would make me smile; they did.
I only worked with Al and about 40 of his co-workers for two days, but I remember him clearly. He was a portly man, with a great smile, and a wonderful attitude about life. When he participated in my training program, he was one year away from retirement. However, unlike many other employees at that stage of employment, he still participated willingly in the training program. He wanted to learn whatever he could to become a better person, a better employee, and a better support to his customers. Al was THE person in this particular training group who was the target of many jokes - and he loved every moment of it. Of course, because he was kind and supportive of what I was sharing with his group, there were good-natured cat-calls thrown his way including “Teacher's Pet”. With each one, he'd just smile and laugh along. Whenever he could make someone else smile or laugh – a colleague or customer – to Al, that was an opportunity not to be missed.
I thought I'd share Al's story with you in the hopes that you take a moment to ask yourself, "How will my colleagues, employees, customers, vendors, and others remember me when I no longer work here? Will they remember me and smile? Will they consider the time they knew me to be of value to them? Will they remember something I taught them? Will they be inspired to do something I used to do? Will they help someone else because they remember how I helped them? OR, will they remember me, shake their heads, and forget me?"
As leaders, if we run through these self-reflection questions, we may be become even better leaders. If my employees remember me and smile, they must have liked me as a person because they could tell I liked THEM as people too. If they consider the time they worked with me as VALUABLE, I must have helped them to achieve something good or to improve in some way. If they remember something I TAUGHT them, I must have helped them grow as professionals and people. If they aspire to emulate me, I must have been a solid ROLE MODEL for them. If they help someone else because I HELPED them, I must have ‘been there for them’ when they needed me. However, if they simply shake their heads and easily forget me, I didn't fulfill the true responsibilities of my job: I failed to lead people, I only managed resources.
Thanks Al. You can still make me smile.
What's your legacy?
Copyright MMIII - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Find out more from Liz on LinkedIn!
Do the unthinkable -- be your own customer. Take a critical look at your organization one afternoon and walk through the front door as a first-time customer would.
Notice things such as the clarity of your website, the friendliness of your telephone receptionist, the lighting and cleanliness of the floor, countertops, and displays. Notice the arrangement of your information, merchandise, and the responsiveness of the staff. Do you feel comfortable and are you welcomed, or do you feel frustrated and as if you're an interruption?
If you sense anything other than comfort, being welcomed, and pride in your organization, you've got work to do. Because any other feeling you sensed, is also being felt by prospective customers -- and you could be losing customers because of it!
So do yourself a favor. Notice and address the "little" things seen on the other side of your business. You'd be amazed at the "big" changes in new customers, customer satisfaction and retention that can develop.
Copyright MCMXCVIII - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.