Building Working Relationships With Customers
Effective communication strategies can help towards building strong working relationships with clients and customers and are very important for the progress of any company. It is essential to create a good impression and therefore it is important that the employee’s self presentation meets the expectations of the customer and leaves them with an overall positive opinion. Employee’s appearance is essential for creating a good first impression to the customer. It is important to look professional and to dress appropriately according to your working environment. While some companies require smart dress code at all times, for others wearing a suit may be seen as too dressy and would suggest that the employee is not familiar enough with the type of business. Ideally employees have to carefully consider the type of clients their company is aiming for and do their best to associate themselves with them, always aiming for a neat and tidy appearance.
Major factor for one’s self presentation is their attitude towards clients. It is vital to show interest in meeting the customer’s needs and making them feel valued. A successful employee always shows engagement to a query and ideally aims to be more-productive, customer-focused and profit-gathering. Their manners should display positivity and helpful attitude at all times. It is important to be attentive and respond appropriately to customers’ needs and focus on delivering business results. Satisfied customers are likely to give good feedback about your work and are more likely to remain loyal, making future purchases repeatedly. They are considered a real asset to the organisation and ideally would still choose to use the same company over going for a competitor’s services. Moreover their positive feedback can attract new potential clients, contribute towards achievement of wider business goals for the company and make it more successful at the marketplace.
In order to be able to deal more efficiently with their clients’ needs, companies have various protocols designed to improve their employees’ customer service and productivity. The protocols consist of a set of guidelines covering the correct conduct towards customers, setting out the main duties which customer-facing employees have to be able to carry out. Thus the company ensures that its employees are delivering a consistently high level of service to the customers. Protocols usually cover key areas of customer service describing how to appropriately respond to customers and how to refer to a relevant individual. This may include telephone etiquette – aiming to answer a phone call within three rings and greeting the customer with an exact phrase before taking their details. Responding to e-mails on the same day using the correct wording and sending out letters along with a complimentary slips from the company. It can also cover logging details and processes on to a specific database, creating customer files and recording different actions and outcomes of employee’s daily duties – for example completing flow chart templates showing the progress of a certain task or a project.
Protocols are important not only for improving the standards of general customer service and minimising the possibility of errors, but also to protect employees from occasions where unfair claims and disciplinary proceedings which may occur. In my job role as an administrator at a traineeship provider company, I rarely have to contact any external customers and my clients are assessors working at different departments of the same organisation. I am responsible for processing their new learners registrations and have to follow a certain guidelines on a daily basis to ensure my work is done correctly. When receiving a new request I register our new learners for the relevant qualification with the correct awarding body and enter their details on to an online registrations system. The next step is liaising with a colleague from finance department and issuing a purchase order number. I have to make a copy of the new registration details and keep in the learners file.
According to my company’s protocol I have to complete all new registrations within two days from the original submission date and get back to the assessors by e-mail once I have dealt with their request. Although there is no formal etiquette I have to follow when responding to them, it is important that I stick to the protocol and ensure all data is correctly processed and saved. Appropriate communication between customers and employees is essential for any company’s progress. Showing respect in every interaction is vital and there is certainly no place for negative or rude attitude towards the client. Good telephone manner and polite face-to-face communication is equally important in both formal and informal situations. If any differences in views or ideas occur employees should first try to understand them from the client’s perspective and then respond by emphasizing what they can do to help resolving the matter. Unfortunately, customers are more likely to speak up and make a complaint about a bad customer experience, rather than giving feedback about a positive one.
On occasions when someone has raised a complaint to me within my company I listen to the client without passing any judgements or rushing to give an advice and follow through with stating what I can do to help resolve the problem. It is important that the customers see a quick and appropriate response to their issue, know that that I am looking forward to helping them and that my organisation cares about providing them with a solution. In situations where I think I cannot resolve a client’s problem I seek advice and help from a manager or a more experienced employee. I focus on issues and not personalities when I address and pass on the complaint and express appreciation when others give me assistance. In situations when a client has complained about an error made by an employee from my company, the situation is usually dealt with by a department manager or coordinator, who ensures that the customer receives the necessary compensation and that the same mistake would not be made again in future. Customer satisfaction is essential for the survival of any business, therefore it is important that the client’s needs should be met and if possible – exceeded.
To do that, companies look for employees who can identify what the client is looking for and provide with good service. This can prove to be a challenging task as customer needs are a dynamic feature, based on a wide range of changing factors and it can be difficult to know exactly what someone is looking for. Common basic expectations are helpful high quality products or services and competitive pricing. Employees should be prepared to go above and beyond to satisfy the customer expectations, as this will increase the sales and create additional business opportunities. It is important that needs should be met because then there is a better possibility that the client will choose to do business with the organisation. However, if their expectations of customer service are exceeded they are likely to become loyal customers and use other services in future. Thus the company will stand out, differentiate from the rest of its competitors and has better chances of expanding. Positive working relations with any customer will bring more investments and will make the organisation more popular on the market.
It will also allow the employees to get to know their customers better, find the right matches for their needs and find new ways to deal effectively with any problems or complaints. Important aspect in building good working relationships is agreeing on certain quality standards and timescales for their requests. By doing so, both parties are agreeing on setting a specific target and the company can make sure it stays focused on the right needs of the customer and knows exactly what has to be done so that the clients are satisfied with the end result. It encourages new improvements and ensures consistency in service. Reviewing customer service provision is the process through which the company receives and evaluates feedback for their services to their clients.
There are various ways to do this and most popular ones are informal feedback and completing surveys, comments book and questionnaires. My company often uses online evaluation sheets and has also dedicated a section from its official webpage for comments and suggestions. Customers can choose to remain anonymous when sharing their customer service experience. Although feedback information important, yet sometimes difficult to obtain, companies need to ensure their customers are not pressurised to participate in the evaluation if they are not interested to do so. Building good working relationships with clients helps towards the continuous improvement of companies services, brings more profits and attracts new potential customers.