Our Experts | Donna Grigonis
When you think of a “service” industry, you might think of restaurants, hotels or retail workers, but the truth is, every single job in every industry is a service-based job. A worker is serving someone else in everything they do. Whether you realize it or not, you are a service worker.
Even business Insider posed this question: “Name one job that doesn’t include customer service. You can’t. That’s because it wouldn’t be a job unless you were providing some sort of service to somebody… A big part of your job is to be helpful to the people you work with and that’s called customer service. Embrace it, ideally with a smile.”
Working as a recruiter on both sides of the playing field, I am working with employers and candidates all day, five days a week. Before recruiting I worked in real estate development, and even then I was available for clients constantly. From each of my previous and current experiences, I can tell you this truth: customer service is everything.
Tip #1: Listen
The majority of my work recently has been B2B, working with employers and vendors, but this goes for anyone doing service work. When I am talking to anyone, anywhere my first reaction is to listen. It seems simple enough, but you’d be surprised how many people aren’t listening closely. Many times when I ask my clients their needs, they tell me one thing but the position seems to call for something else. This is where you must pay close attention to find the best solution.
Not only do you listen to their needs, but try to find their pain point of exactly what is making your client unhappy. Sometimes your angriest customer can turn into your best customer, just by listening to them and figuring out what is making them dissatisfied (and then of course fixing it).
Tip #2: Give Options
When I find out the needs and wants of a client, I try to send them a few different options or ideas of what can heal their angst. I then get their feedback about what they liked and didn’t like about each potential solution (in this case is a candidate). I also enjoy playing devil’s advocate to try and make the client think outside of the box. I always look for feedback, good or bad, so I can keep searching for their best fit. Listening to their feedback and acting on it is also essential to keeping a strong relationship with the client. This can translate to any service job by giving your customers options instead of one hard-and-fast solution.
Tip #3: Create Open Communication
You are probably picking up on the idea that good customer service is based on great, two-way communication – and that’s because it is. When you are still searching for a solution, but haven’t found anything yet, you should let the client know. I like to keep my clients updated with each step of the process, even if it means just letting them know I’m still looking for the best solution.
Don’t keep them in the dark and guessing about your progress – it kills the trust between you.
On that note, it’s also very important to be available. This doesn’t mean you need to take calls at all hours of the day and night, but depending on your role, it is sometimes necessary to respond to your client when they are in need. I am clear with my clients about my work boundaries, but in case of emergencies they have my cell number to reach me. If I receive a call from anyone, I immediately pick up the phone and call them to address the problem.
Tip #4: Treat Others How You Want to be Treated
Don’t roll your eyes at this one – the age-old saying is 100 percent true. For every client I work with, I try to put myself in their shoes and see things from their point of view. What would I need and want if I were in their position? Remain positive and treat your customers equally.
Outside of work, you are being served every day by other members of the working community. Think of the best service you have received or would like to receive, and mimic it in your own service-based role. Treating others with respect, fairness and positivity goes a long way and is key to getting a dedicated customer in any industry.