Communicate to Be Great!

July 16, 2015 by FlexPro

communicateAs consumers we’ve all encountered situations where we’ve received poor customer service. I think it’s safe to say that the negative experience leaves us feeling frustrated and disappointed. More importantly, it leaves us feeling that our business isn’t valued. This dissatisfaction, in turn, leads to taking our business and our money elsewhere. Professionally, a real pet peeve of mine is reaching out to someone regarding an important issue and not getting a timely response or any response at all. Whether it’s by phone, text or e-mail, in today’s world of instantaneous communication, there is no excuse for lack of response. It’s just poor customer service and it tells me that I’m not important enough to warrant the time.

As Project Managers we need make sure that all components of a project are working towards the same goal and it’s also on us to keep things moving. What we do is deadline driven and as the saying goes, “Time is money.” I find it very frustrating to have to sit on my hands and wait for a response from someone who should have been keeping me in the loop in the first place. There’s nothing worse than having a client, regardless whether that “client” is external, my boss or even a team member, ask for information that I can’t provide because the next person in the loop isn’t responding. Quite honestly even a simple, “Can I get back to you?”, is better than nothing at all. Regardless if my inquiry can be answered at that moment or not, just an acknowledgement of my question lets me know that you value and respect me. A little communication goes a long way.

I’ve read a few interesting articles recently regarding the importance of keeping clients informed and providing a timely response. An article in Workplace Psychology by Steve Nguyen, Ph.D. titled: “Keeping Your Clients Informed and Providing a Timely Response are Essential to Great Customer Service”, cuts right to the point in regards to this topic. Nguyen states, “Poor customer service hurts your business and customers leave you because of poor customer service.” In the article he stresses the importance of keeping your clients informed and how critical it is to respond quickly to their questions. He cites examples of how consultants lost their clients because they either ignored or delayed responding to their inquiries. In one case the client was forced to come up with their own solution to a technical issue – which is the reason that the consultant was hired in the first place. In another case the consultant failed to keep the client informed of problems that were going to delay the project and deadlines were missed. In the end, the disappointing lack of a timely response caused both consultants to lose their clients.

It’s our job to provide exceptional customer service and that includes keeping our clients informed through all phases of our relationship with them. Timely response to their questions and inquiries is not optional and should never be delayed. As Nguyen points out, “Failure to do so can result in lost business (or clients) or damage to your reputation, or both.” So, simply put, if you want to be great…COMMUNICATE!

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