I am fiercely loyal to my local cellular provider. I’ve been a customer since Bill Clinton was in office. That’s a mighty long time to stay with one company. Why have I not checked to see if other pastures have greener grass? Well, I already know that some of the national carriers are sometimes less expensive. I’ve seen ads for dazzling data packages that my carrier doesn’t offer.
What Customer Service Has to Do With It
Why do I stay even if it might cost me a few more bucks each month? For starters, a real person answers the phone when I call. The employees who answer the phone never sound annoyed and, even though I can’t see them, I don’t feel like they are rolling their eyes in exasperation. The company is local. I can pop over to their store in the mall and always receive prompt, cheerful service. There’s a lot to be said for that. There’s a deli near my office that I’ve stopped visiting because I’m actually frightened of the lady who makes the sandwiches. I double-dog-dare you to ask her to go easy on the mayo.
For many years, I worked for a small technology company that provided web development, hosting, networking, and email services. The company’s goal was to be a one-stop-shop for its clients (and to keep those clients forever). There was no need to have your email hosted with one company and your website hosted with another - we could do it all for you. I bought into that thinking, too, because it made sense to me at the time. If a client has multiple services with the company, that makes it harder for them to leave. But is that really the best way to hang onto a client? Now that I’m viewing this philosophy in my rear view mirror, I see it a bit differently.
The Fine Art of Account Management
My bank is one of the largest in the country. I have no particular beef with my bank but I can’t say that I send them a Valentine when February rolls around either. Their fees drive me batty because I am cheap - I mean, thrifty. However, I don’t leave because I pay all of our bills using their online bill-pay service. Some of these transactions are setup to run automatically. I don’t leave my bank because leaving would simply be too inconvenient. I can’t imagine why they haven’t asked me to be on a billboard. I’m picturing my smiling face next to a quote that says, “I stay because it’s too much trouble to leave!”
For much of my career, I’ve worked as a project manager, handling web development projects of all sizes. I know firsthand the sting of losing a client. It’s particularly hard when I felt that I enjoyed a great rapport with the client and perceived that they were happy with our services. It took me a long time to realize that clients may leave for reasons that have nothing to do with me. It may be a change in direction for that company/organization that drove them to find new providers. It may be a financial decision in some cases. Or it may be that the work has simply ended. For me, these lessons highlight the need to provide spectacular service without worrying excessively about how the business relationship will play out in the future.
Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon) once said, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It is our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little better.” I’d like to think that clients will stick around because they are enjoying that party (and maybe telling others how great it is, too!). We don’t need to hold them hostage.
With a background in project management, Claudia's unofficial mantra is: "Big things can always be broken up into smaller things." She prides herself on her organizational skills, her ability to get along with many different types of people, and her commitment to doing what's best for our clients.
Outside the office, Claudia enjoys embarrassing her only child, trying new vegan recipes, practicing yoga, and fostering dogs for the humane society. She grew up in Northern Virginia and, despite living in the midwest for over 20 years now, she refuses to mispronounce roof, creek, and root beer.