- Be polite this sounds like a no brainer but I see IT people cop an attitude when they are asked a question by an end user. If you are working in IT this is part of the job and you should be thankful that someone thinks enough of you to ask a question. No matter how ridiculous the question might seem take the time to answer the question thoroughly and politely. Then after answering the question ask the person if they understand your explanation. This is especially important if you are an outside consultant because you want your customers to call you back when IT issues occur. Remember it takes only one person in office to talk bad about your services to ruin your client relationship.
- Answer the phone & email immediately. One of the most productive things I do as a consultant is answer the phone and emails right away. Unless you are with a customer, on the phone, in the bathroom or sleeping there is no reason to not answer immediately. I have beat out a number of IT competitors because I respond immediately. My customers know that when they call I will answer. I have had customers tell me their previous IT consultant would not return phone calls for days. Even when they left messages saying the server or Internet was down. If you do this one thing I promise you that you will have more repeat business than you can handle. I have also received client referrals because of my responsiveness.
- Listen & Ask questions. When you are at a client listen to employee complaints that are IT related. These complaints are an opportunity for additional work. Ask the employee what the issue is and tell them you may have a solution for them. Typically what I experience is that the user goes to their manager and requests I fix the issue. A two hour service call can easily turn into an eight hour service call. Always be listening for ways to make your customer’s life easier. This means more work for you.
- Your words must match your actions. If you tell someone that you are going to take care of an issue be sure you follow through with it. Again I have replaced competitors because they do not follow through with their word. I have a customer that used to schedule IT service on a specific day and the IT consultant would show up a couple of days later. That is so disrespectful and proves that you are not reliable. Would you trust a man’s work that operates this way? I wouldn’t! When a customer requests service I immediately schedule the service in my Blackberry. My Blackberry Calendar automatically synchronizes with my Google Calendar and Outlook. This way nothing is ever overlooked.
- Explain what you are doing in simple terms. Do not try to act like you are the smartest guy in the room. A truly smart person does not have to prove they are smart. Did you ever have your car serviced and the auto mechanic starts talking about how the flux capacitor is not connecting to the canooten valve? You stand there nodding your head having no idea what the guy is talking about. That is the feeling your non-technical end users feel when you start spitting out acronyms when giving an explanation. Give explanations in general easy to understand terms. Use analogies the user will recognize. If they ask for a more detailed explanation then you can give a technical explanation. Companies will keep calling you back if you can make something complex easy to understand.
- Add convenience as a value added service. Everybody is busy and has little time for anything but their primary job responsibilities. I recommend doing everything you can to make your customer’s life as easy as possible when dealing with you. This may require investigating products or giving solution anaylsis to help aid in your customer’s decision making process. If your customers know that dealing with you makes their life a little easier they will be sure to call you repeatedly.
In conclusion if you follow these six steps you will be able to leverage your existing customer base to increase your revenue. When you are interacting with a customer always be thinking how you can provide value. Put yourself in your customer’s position and think how you would like to be treated. What are some of the ways you provide value to your customers? Leave your responses in the comment box below.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you find it useful. If you would like to help me out please link to UnderstandITNow.com. Tom