Living in Bahrain has taught me many things, patience being high up on the list however I still struggle to maintain my inner calm when being told by the maintenance company at my villa’s compound that the Electrician will be with me in an hour to fix the Air Conditioner and then he turns up 2 days later! This theory of being told something that they think you want to hear rather than being told the reality really doesn’t work for me! The blood pressure rockets, I climb the walls and my husband and I generally start ranting at each other about who will contact the Electrician again for the millionth time to chase him up!
Take this theory and put it into an Agency’s Client Servicing Department; one would lose Clients quicker than you can say “my Air Conditioner needs repairing”! The key to meeting our client’s needs is good communication. Clients want to know that they can air their concerns with somebody who will understand their issues and act upon them accordingly whilst keeping them in the loop at all times.
I am also not in favour of the inherent term “Client Servicing” as really this is no longer sufficient. It is all about Client Relationship Management wherein a relationship with a Client needs to be built, strengthened, managed and essentially maintained by creating a partnership. This however does not stop at keeping a list or database of current or prospective Clients. It involves understanding customers and their expectations, personalisation and loyalty.
Critical to the above is understanding that our direct Clients themselves, are always answerable and accountable to a higher level in the company’s Management structure; accepting that the pressures they are under will always be passed down to the Agency. But that is just the battle begun…how we deal with that pressure and turn it into a positive, calm and results driven solution in a set timeframe is the battle won! As we know in the Agency world that you are only as good as your last job.
It is also ironic that we now live in times when our communication with one another is increasingly reliant on the written word; therefore the art of listening and conversation is falling by the wayside. Both skills are imperative and enable you to understand motives and concerns of people you are communicating with. Strong listening skills are important for successful Client Relationship Management – it ensures that you hear the right message, helps you identify reasons of problems and then react on them appropriately thus helping you build that relationship. It really is relationship 101 – can you imagine speaking to your spouse only via email, SMS, Social Media, WhatsApp, BBM – some husbands would probably like this but I’m thinking it wouldn’t be very healthy!!
So the next time my Air Conditioner breaks down and I’m told, via email, that an Engineer will be with me in an hour I will talk to him on the phone, tell him my concerns that my child’s pet hamster may die in 100 degrees heat and hope that he will listen and act accordingly!!
- Julia Rushton