Are Your Customer Service Relationships Running on a Two-​Way Street?

BY Rachel Cagle
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Your customer service likely isn’t developing a good relationship with your clients. In fact, you’re probably not developing any kind of relationship with them at all. Now, before you go justifying your service, ask yourself this one question: what do you expect from your clients when it comes to customer service? If that question made you pause, you’re not alone. In Ian Golding’s article, “Customer Experience: it goes both ways… or does it?!” he points out that client relationships are a two-​way street, but salespeople rarely treat them as such.

If your client is not actively involved in your customer service process, you are not developing a business relationship with her. Business relationships require effort on both parties’ parts, but, most of the time, we focus on only how our side of service is going: how often we reach out, if we keep things running smoothly, etc. But what if I told you that establishing customer service expectations with your client will not only take some of those responsibilities off of your shoulders, but will also improve your business relationship?

It’s true. You may think that divulging your expectations of your client to her will offend her and make her ask why customer service is her responsibility, but you’re wrong. In reality, your expectations are most likely simple tasks, such as encouraging the client to make it known when she needs help with the product or service you sold to her, sharing ideas on how to improve said product or service, and to provide feedback on your service. At the end of the day, your expectations of your client in your business relationships boils down to one word: feedback.

Try it out. The next time you speak with your client, make it known that, when it comes to providing excellent customer service, her part in ensuring continued excellence is to be proactive in reaching out to you with any need she may have. This strategy not only shows that you want to get her involved, it also means your responsibilities begin to lessen. Think about it, if your client knows that you expect her to come to you with problems, you’ll be alerted to said problems more quickly than you would’ve been otherwise. You’ll have an extra, first-​hand opinion on how you can maintain your expected rate of excellence, and you won’t have to be the one constantly remembering to reach out to your client in order to keep your good standing.

Business relationships are a two-​way street. Does your current customer service plan reflect this?