As a businessowner, it can be a challenge to shut down the entrepreneurial part of my brain. On the one hand, this has the tendency to drive me (and my family!) a little bit crazy. On the other, it means that throughout everything I do in my day-to-day life, I learn more about smart client processes. I am constantly learning how to provide better, more exceptional service to my clients and business partners. So, what’s the latest example of this sort of off-the-job learning that I’ve done?
Well, it all started with a dishwasher…
The Proof is in the Client Processes
It’s exciting shopping for a new appliance and it’s not every day a person gets to treat themselves to a new dishwasher. Just the thought of how great having a new, fancy, more-efficient machine in the house had us eagerly picking out a unit that we liked.
After a fun day exploring all the new features that dishwashers had to offer, we were excited to get our new unit home. However, it was when we started in on the details of the delivery and installation process that the positive customer service experience we had did an abrupt 180. Originally, the salesperson said that the entire delivery and installation process could be handled in one day. This, unfortunately, turned out to be a bit of a miscommunication. In reality, the actual process required four days between delivery, old unit removal, new unit install, and so on. Everything could only happen between Monday – Friday, between business hours. In other words – I had to spend a week off waiting for the new dishwasher to be fully installed.
We did what we had to do to accommodate this frustrating situation. In the end, we were simply glad to have our brand-new, reliable dishwasher installed.
If only that were the case!
Instead, we had issue after issue with our new purchase. We ended up having technicians come out on three occasions in six months to keep our expensive lemon running. After the final repair, we’d had enough and reached out to the refrigerator manufacturer. We thought they’d be happy to help us out with a model swap after hearing about all the problems we’d had. Nope! We ran into another negative “process” that disallowed this major appliance manufacturer from helping us out. The repairs all happened under warranty, they argued, so no harm, no foul, right? Not right – what happens when my warranty runs out after six months and I’m stuck with this jalopy of an appliance?
Where the manufacturer let us down, though, Best Buy stepped up.
Regardless of their standard processes, they recognized that this situation was something far out of the ordinary. They worked with us to transfer our payments over to a new model, bringing this whole saga to a close. The manager even offered to come by and oversee the install himself, just to make sure things went the way they should! We didn’t take him up on it, but the gesture was certainly a welcomed one.
So, What’s the Business Lesson About Client Processes?
Ultimately, the crux of the issue throughout this entire dishwasher ordeal was rooted in processes – bad processes, poorly executed processes, and processes that were so strictly adhered to at the expense of the customer service.
This experience made me reflect closely on the processes we have at The Marketing Girl and how they affect our customer service. A few things I considered were:
Do our client processes help our clients or cause headaches?
What we view as a helpful process, may be a headache to our clients. In a conversation with one client, we discovered that our project management system was a headache for them. We thought it was a great communication tool, and for many clients it is. However, but for this client, it was not so we developed a different process for them.
Does our team know our client processes and how to use them?
As a virtual team, we have to ensure that we are working efficiently together with processes that work for our team and clients. When processes are impeding a client’s satisfaction, I want to empower my team. I want to ensure they have the autonomy to address the issue in a timely manner.
What is the experience like for our clients?
I took a long step back and examined processes from the viewpoint of our client. When doing so, have conversations to get the 360-degree feedback from your team, clients, and colleagues. Chances are, no matter how organized your processes are, there’s room for improvement. In the end, it will help you deliver better value to your clients and they will pay off in spades.
Do our client processes make sense?
I broke down our processes into step by step stages. This was a very eye-opening experience as I was able to address communication gaps and make steps more efficient. Can you streamline things? Are there speedbumps you often hit? Were there any hiccups you hit when clients have gone through this process in the past?
Where are there gray areas in our client processes?
Are our processes clear to our team members and clients? Do we communicate them clearly? Are their better ways to communicate with them? If not, then we figured out how to improve and make them crystal clear.
What are your red flags that indicated a client process needs to be reviewed?
Consider breaking from your typical way of doing things when it makes sense to do so. Take a hard look, especially when it is customer service and retention at stake. If you’re sticking to a process when an issue arises that is causing a client undue hardship, there’s a good chance they’ll realize it and won’t choose to be your client for much longer. Keep to your processes when it makes sense to do so, but be open to adjusting them from time to time.
At The Marketing Girl, we work tirelessly to create processes that make things as easy for our clients as possible. We are happy to adjust them to suit our partners’ needs and solve marketing problems when the situation demands it. Learn more about how our marketing processes can create success for your business – get in touch with us today!