Good Service Should Be the Norm, Not the Exception

I think most people would agree that effective client service is inconsistent. While we may ruefully nod in agreement about this, it represents an opportunity for you and your company to shine.

My most recent vignette relates to nonsense over a prescription refill. This medication recently became available as a generic, which my doctor requested when placing the order.

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What Happened to Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is an essential skill in our current economy. The ability to discern, evaluate, and differentiate can make the difference between informed and careless decisions.

Our workers are often in a rush. Many have more work to do than time to complete. Consequently, sometimes even the smallest of items are handled without thinking, let alone without critical thinking.

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“I Just Can’t Do More”

Although you might rarely hear your employees utter these words, if you pay attention, you’re likely to read them in their gestures, body language, and tone of voice. When people are burned out, this is often what they express nonverbally.

People who are otherwise reliable individuals start to slip. They miss deadlines. They forget about important details. They neglect delegating.

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Electronic Dialogue

Communication can be challenging, to say the least! When you speak face-to-face, you can see body language, gestures, and hear intonation. If that same conversation is on the phone, you essentially miss the body language and gestures. If that message is conveyed by email, you lose the intonation as well; and if text, it can be even more obscure.

Many people shoot off an email without regard to how the recipient is going to receive or interpret the message. For example, one person I work with reads whatever is visible on the screen of her phone. Her staff knows that everything important needs to be in the first few lines.

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Tune into Your Co-Workers

You never know what baggage people bring to work every day. No matter how well things seem to be going, you can bet that something is lurking in the background. You just don’t know what it is.

Some people are great at compartmentalizing and can have productive days even if something personally challenging is happening concurrently. Others will sit at their desks and stare into space, completely unaware of anything going on around them.

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“We’ve Always Done It This Way”

Change is almost always received with at least a little resistance. When someone says “we’ve always done it this way” it’s a signal that you’ll need to do more work than just the change itself. You’ll need to “sell” your people on why this specific change.

When planning for change, then, you should plan for the change itself in addition to internal persuasion time. Yes, this takes more time, and yes, you need to do this.

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Emotion vs. Passion

We love seeing examples of people expressing their passion, especially when it reinforces their desire to do well for their clients or colleagues. Passion is contagious and can even lift others out of lethargy.

There is a distinction, however, between expressing passion and being subjectively emotional, or “overly emotional” as some people describe it. When this happens, people lose their objectivity and they are less effective influencers. I’ve seen many examples of this, with both positive and negative emotions.

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Make Communication a No-Brainer

One of my clients has a very simple rule, which is to include the account executive on any communication relating to his or her accounts. Team members know that this means to copy them on emails and update them on any verbal discussions.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, many of the client management hiccups that occur in this company relate to breaching this simple guideline. How and why does this happen?

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The Attention Conundrum

Attention is possibly our most important currency today. You need to pay attention to both the big and little things. Even if you are not detail oriented, when you pay attention to details it can make a difference between an average job and an outstanding one. The expression, “it’s all in the details” takes on fresh meaning in these situations. Consider these examples:

The executive who isn’t clear in his instructions but expects his assistant to know precisely what he has in mind. The assistant books his travel and then he reprimands her because it wasn’t the exact schedule that he wanted (which he, of course, never mentioned).

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