Customer Service is Everyone’s Responsibility – Creating a Team Who Supports Your Philosophy

CustomersFor all entrepreneurs we treat our customers in a certain way whether we realize we are or not. We have values and beliefs that shape how we do business with others. If you stop to think about this you will find that you too have underlying values and beliefs that shape how you treat your customers and expect their relationship with your business to be molded.

For example, in my business my core values are freedom and personal growth and I strive to assist my clients to have opportunities to find more freedom in their business so they can spend time on personal growth. It’s not that I say this in so many words, but it is my primary goal when working with clients. So how do I achieve this? Quite simply, by helping them to find the greatest Virtual Assistant for them personally; someone who understands their goals and philosophies and shares those philosophies.

It is for this very reason that when I am working with a new client to find them a Virtual Assistant, I ask them about their customer service mantras, about their values and most importantly about how they want others to feel after working with them. I then set out to find a Virtual Assistant who shares in this exact model for their own business. When I put this far and above the skillset (not that skills isn’t important, but I believe is secondary to a shared value system) it is then that the magic in relationships happen.

So today, I share with you three of my top tips for making sure your team understands and shares your philosophies, and more importantly follows through on them!

Tip #1 – It Starts with the Hiring Process

As I shared earlier, I start from the very beginning. When I am matching a Virtual Assistant for a client I spend time learning what values are important to each party. I also talk a lot about they types of clients they tend to attract and why. This gives me a very clear understanding of whether the Virtual Assistant will share in the client’s philosophies and be a good “face” for the client’s business.

Tip #2 – Your Virtual Assistant is not a Mind Reader
If you are already working with a Virtual Assistant it isn’t too late. There is probably a reason you were drawn to that Virtual Assistant and all you have to do is share your philosophies with your Virtual Assistant. Better yet, why not ask your Virtual Assistant what they believe it to be. You may be very surprised they already know!

Tip #3 – Keep the Lines of Communication Open
When your Virtual Assistant does something that is not reflective of how you would do business or want your client’s treated be sure to let them know. The important thing is don’t just point out the mistake, but rather tell them what you would have done differently and why. If your Virtual Assistant is not receptive to adopting your philosophies and customer service mantras it may be a good indicator it is time to end the relationship.

Remember when you begin to build a team they may not always be “behind the scenes” and even when they are they will continue to have a hand in the image your business is portraying on your behalf. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your Virtual Assistant (and all your other team members) get it! Instead make sure they do and make sure they follow the way you want to do business!


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Is the Client/Customer Always Right?

Many business owners would say that this statement is true without a doubt. No matter what the issue or what the expense, the client is always right and every remedy should be made to ensure that the client is always satisfied. I would love to challenge you to think about the following situations and determine if you still think the client is always right.

1. The Customer/Client that Challenges Your Boundaries. As a business owner it is important to determine boundaries for your business. These boundaries would include such things as; hours you are available to your clients, projects you are willing to undertake, pricing policies, turnaround times, etc.. When a client continually expects you to step outside these boundaries and challenges you when you stand behind your boundaries, is it necessary to allow them to be right? For example, if you stated to a client that your turnaround time was three business days and anything under that time was considered a rush job and subject to premiums, when your client insisted that a job be done within two days and then was unwilling to pay your rush premiums, would you fight to obtain those premiums?

2. The Client that is Never Satisfied. We have all dealt with one of those clients before, I am sure that you know the ones I am talking about. I call them the “suckers” … they suck everything out of you so that there isn’t much left for the other clients. This is the client that changes their mind constantly, that is always right (even when they are wrong) and that never seems happy with anything.

3. The Client that is Bad for Business. So many of us can remember that client that something just didn’t feel right, but we decided to work with them anyways. The biggest lesson that can be learned from working in a situation such as this one is to always go with your gut. Don’t ever be afraid to fire a client, especially a client that is effecting the value of our work for the other clients.

4. The Client that Makes us Unhappy. Remember the reason you started your own business was to make your own decisions and to work with who you wanted, when you wanted, doing what you wanted. The minute that a client makes you not want to answer their phone calls, not want to answer their emails or worse yet not enjoy working with them or on their file, it is time to part your ways.

Of course, each situation and answer is not cut and dry. Many times it depends on a variety of circumstances such as who the client is, what was stated in writing and verbally, how determined you are to “stick to your guns” and how much there is to lose if the situation is reversed or if you stick to your guns. Remember that when determining if the client is right, do what feels right to you and your business and don’t ever let a client “bully” you into doing something that goes against your personal and business ethics. I challenge you to answer this simple question when determining if your client is always right … What is the worst thing that they could do to you and your business if they were told they were wrong?