Sunday, January 6, 2013

Good Customer Service Thoughts For The IT Services Industry

These are some thoughts I have about "customer service" in the IT services business.  They probably should be in a better order, but these are just thoughts I jotted down.  Ill probably update this post on occasion to add other thoughts to it.

Customer Service Thoughts:
1.  Check in on your customer often. You can not grow relationships by talking to someone once a month. 
2.  Never say "Its not my problem".  Always participate in the problem until the very end if possible. 
3.  Communicate well with the customer.
4.  Consistency is key --> Be consistent.
5.  Never use fowl language around a customer.  YOU look bad when you do this.  You are a professional.  ACT like one. (I specifically remember one consultant in particular that had a fowl mouth when he was onsite at a customer.  He worked for a different company than I, and the customer had literally no respect for him at all because of his fowl mouth.  He had technical ability and was good at what he did, but his fowl mouth ruined his potential relationship with this customer.  He was asked not to come back.)
6.  Try to understand problems from the customer's point of view. REALLY LISTEN to the customer.
7.  Always look the customer in the eye when you talk with them and when they talk with you.
8.  Don't give up on trying to find the right solution for your customer.  Their problem/need is very important to them.  Therefore, it should be very important to you.  This is what they pay you for.
9.  If your customer changes their mind on something that they wanted to do, even after you have done the work, obtain the new goal they want. Even if it means you have to undo everything you just did for the first goal they had.
10.  Always contact the customer when you are going to work on their equipment.  A phone call is appropriate in this situation.
11.  Always contact the customer when you have updates for them.  A phone call OR email is appropriate in this situation.  Preferably both.
12.  Try to give a general time frame on when you will show up onsite.  It doesn't have to be exact, just a window of time.  An example might be "between 8am and 9am".  Most people are OK with that.  An example of what NOT to do is "between 8am and 12noon" (This gap is too wide). 
13.  When you walk into a customer site, the CUSTOMER is the boss.  Do what they ask you to do (unless it is completely unreasonable). 
14.  Most customers like reports.  If you provide manages services to them, give them monthly reports on what you are doing for them.  They want to know.
15.  Be a 'servant' to your customer.  Its called "IT Services" for a reason.  Serve, don't expect to 'be served'.
16.  Never lie to your customer.  Never lie to anyone.  BAD BAD BAD!
17.  If a mistake is made at a customer site, own up to it.  Be accountable.  Most people respect honesty.  Everyone makes mistakes.
18.  If you need to cancel an appointment with a customer, call them and let them know.  Don't email them, call them.
19.  Try to make your appointment with the customer convenient for them.  It needs to be convenient for you too, but for them as well.
20.  Take the time to get to know your customer.  If you know that they don't like to be approached early in the morning, don't do that unless you have to.  If you know they need their coffee first before you start conversation, wait until they have had their coffee.  If you know they need an email BEFORE conversation, so that they have time to process what you are trying to say them them, send the email first, then have the conversation.  I could go on and on with situations.  The bottom line is "Get to know who you are dealing with."
21.  Do what you tell the customer that you are going to do.  If you don't plan on doing something, dont tell the customer that you are going to do it. *added Jan 08, 2013*
22.  If your customer wants to learn the technology, be the first to teach them.  Even if that means you will "put yourself out of a job".  They will appreciate you if you teach them.  This helps your relationship and it instills more trust in you as their provider.  *added Jan 09, 2013*


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