13 Nov “Yes” is not always the best client service strategy
The power of great customer service comes from knowing your company’s strengths and weaknesses, and, accordingly, when to say “yes” or “no” to new clients and projects.
The desires to pursue success and please others can lead us astray in our careers. We want to run with each opportunity because it is a chance for success and a way to keep customers happy. The trouble is that the more you take on projects and clients outside of your mission, the less successful you will be.
Throughout my MBA program, many professors talked about one of the true challenges of leadership – balancing the desire for the company to succeed and profit with the need to stay true to their mission. The best leaders never lose sight of their mission and are not afraid to turn down opportunities that do not fit that mission to maintain the company’s integrity. We can all learn something from these great leaders. “Yes” is not always good customer service. And saying “no” is okay.
When a customer comes to you with a new project, it’s because they know your work, trust your guidance, and receive quality results. You grow that relationship over time by consistently delivering the high level service and/or product they expect.
When a customer comes to you with a new project that has an extremely tight deadline or falls outside of company objectives, the initial reaction may be to say “yes” and find a way to make it work. But the trouble is that, although you might be pleasing your client by completing the project, you could in turn be harming your company’s integrity.
Committing to projects or clients outside of your company’s focus stretches resources and eats up time researching the best way to meet the objective, all with the risk of doing mediocre work.
When you commit to a project, your client expects the same level of quality and insight you typically provide. Projects with short timelines can monopolize your time and may cause you to delay work for other faithful customers. With the rush to meet the deadline, mistakes can be made or flaws could be overlooked for the sake of time. In the end you may have a finished product, but it won’t be as effective as a job that is given the proper amount of consideration and review.
Remember that it has your name on it and your company’s. Committing to projects or clients outside of your company’s focus stretches resources and eats up time researching the best way to meet the objective, all with the risk of doing mediocre work.
Customers look to your company as a partner, invested in their success. If your work does not perform well, your customer’s loyalty is at risk now and for future work. Without the proper time to consider all aspects of a project and without the necessary expertise, you cannot provide a high quality, effective product that will contribute to your customer’s success.
Your main objective is to hear the client’s request, analyze the whole situation, and then provide the best possible result. In order to be successful, you should point them in the direction of the best possible result, even if your organization cannot provide it. It is better to say “no” and provide other options, than to risk your relationship by delivering a mediocre product.
If you’re busy trying to cater to a bunch of wildly diverse requests that you’re not prepared to handle, that doesn’t leave any room to grow. It’s easier and more effective to focus on doing what you’re good at (and what you want to be doing) than to bend over backwards trying to meet all possible needs.
That quote from “The More You Know, The More You ‘No’: Learning To Pick Your Clients,” an Entrepreneurs’ Organization article for Forbes, really sums up these sentiments.
Great customer service is the only way to keep your clients and grow your company. But getting from good to great may start with saying “no.”