A Lesson in Client Relations

Facebook Status Update

My startup, Hammer & Mop, provides premium cleaning services to homes and offices across Mumbai. We’ve been working on the service delivery aspect and are known for our consistent quality. A few testimonials. As a result, sudden unpleasant feedback from a client might make you slightly arrogant and defensive. It’s acceptable if you’re conscious of the emotion, because it’s possible to undo it then. But the last thing you’d want is to be angry at your client!

Client Relations Fail

At a cleanup today, our client had a lot of complaints. Though we were to blame on a few fronts, some of the complaints were quite unreasonable (from our perspective). After hearing him out, I tried explaining things to him on phone. But that’s when he started questioning our competency and capability to be in this business.

Now this unexpectedly brought out the haughty & defensive ‘co-founder & MD’ in me and I offered to vacate the place immediately if the client is so unhappy with things. He was taken aback and rebuked me for offering to quit rather than improve the service. That put me in my senses and I politely (yet firmly) informed him that I’ll speak to my team to assess the situation. Thus the conversation ended.

I don’t usually do this to my clients. Guess today had to be the day.

Rockstar Field Manager

My manager was on his way from another site to this one already. He was aware of the situation, was tad hassled already and I trusted him to handle the situation well. However, he taught me a lesson in client relations by the manner he dealt with it.

Firstly, he apologized profusely to the client for any possible miscommunication and incompetency exhibited by our team. Then he took time to understand the problems the client was facing, took time to hear him out and took necessary steps to minimize them.

He was there till the very end, supervised every aspect of the session, communicated effectively with the client and left only when the team did. While letting me know about this episode, he said- “Sir, we refuse to let a client go till he is happy. That is the way we do things!”

A Wide Grin

Yep, that is what I had on my face while posting that update on Facebook. My field manager had understood what managing client expectations meant. He had lived ‘Hammer & Mop’. Learnt a valuable lesson today.

A Sheepish Grin

He was 2 hours late to a scheduled site visit because of this but that’s another story.

 

love and peace

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