Did you know you’re a salesperson? The importance of customer service. November 19, 2015March 6, 2019 HMdev1 Brandon Hogan Contributed by Brandon Hogan, P.E., Operations Manager _____________________________________________________________ Did you know you’re a salesperson? The importance of customer service. I love going to big box stores to shop. The workers there are so friendly and helpful. Anytime I have a question, or need something off of the very top shelf, and enthusiastic worker is always at my assistance. Your experience too? Just kidding. Although I have had some experiences like this, they have been relatively few. Why do less than stellar customer interactions happen? I think it is because not all employees recognize the impact one person can have on a client’s perception of the whole organization. Many times, a single employee is the window that a client has into a company. If the interaction is negative, the client attributes negativity to the whole organization. And this is not an easy problem to solve. Many people want to “do their job”, without realizing that they most likely have a direct impact on whether a client will choose to do business with their company. Reception, receivables, payables? All sales jobs. Project management, engineering? Sales jobs. The list goes on and on. Anyone who makes contact with clients or potential clients is that company’s representative. It seems like common sense, yet most people have little appreciation for it. In my company, we implement engineering and construction projects for clients. Every job we do is different, requiring a custom approach that is dependent on technical requirements and the client company’s project approach. Within each organization, the individual client project managers often have different approaches, pet peeves and requirements. So every project has a unique set of constraints that affect the way it can be executed. Many times, customers have one point of contact with our company. This makes it even more important for us to push that every employee is a salesperson. A bad experience with their point of contact can cause a customer to start having doubts about the company as a whole, which is unfortunate and something all organizations must really watch out for. With all the moving parts from project to project, it is important to create consistency in as many ways as possible, so that the product feels like your product and a customer can recognize it as your company’s work. One way to do this is a consistent customer service approach. Customer service shouldn’t be confined to a “Customer Service Department”. Each employee must be held accountable for the experience they present customers. It is the responsibility of everyone in the organization to help clients succeed. How do you create a culture where every person in your organization will be a salesperson for you? Frankly, I don’t know, but here is what we are trying: Telling employees that they ARE sales people (duh!). Implementing customer service metrics as a part of the evaluation process for all employees. This helps hold them accountable for their actions. Creating an environment that desires client long-term success, not just the success of any individual project profitability. Customer service is a concept that should be spread throughout the entire organization, not just obvious positions like account management and business development. Everyone has a chance of communicating with a client, and the significance of great customer service from management must be made BEFORE that interaction happens. _____________________________________________________________ Brandon Hogan, P.E. – Operations Manager at H+M Industrial EPC B.S. in Chemical Engineering, MBA Brandon has more than 14 years of industrial engineering experience in operations and project settings. Responsibilities included managing the operations of the Engineering, Procurement and Construction divisions. His past experience includes over 10 years of engineering with The Lubrizol Corporation in Deer Park including process design, capital project management and engineering optimization.