The five-minute guide to 5-star client service

The Five-Minute Guide to 5-Star Client Service

Strategies to improve your client service

Five-star service can mean many things to different people. For some, it’s providing the right information at the right time. For others, it’s the philosophy of “service with a smile,” which means never letting your teammates or clients see how tough a challenge really is.

My approach to client management has been gradually refined by the many diverse projects I’ve worked on over my 20 years in the industry. However, several key strategies have led to satisfied clients no matter who I’m working with or what I’m working on.

If you’re trying to keep clients happy and your team working together despite mounting challenges, you need these four strategies in your toolbox.

  1. Make big things seem small
    Don’t let new challenges or tasks overwhelm you. A bigger task or challenge is simply a series of small, deliberate steps. By breaking it down, you’re able to plan each one out in smaller increments and demonstrate to your clients how you can achieve it.
  2. Keep chaos behind the curtain
    Imagine yourself behind the security of a kitchen wall while preparing a high-end meal for a table of VIP guests. Everything must be prepared flawlessly, arrive at the perfect temperature, uphold your restaurant’s commitment to excellence and delight the customer. No diner wants to see the chaos that’s involved in the creation of their meal. Make sure clients only see the finished product, or a polished work in progress, and not all the long email chains nor unexpected challenges that were necessary to produce it. If something important goes south, let the client know as soon as you can while offering an alternative plan of action to accomplish the original goal.
  3. Adapt to your conditions
    The serving line at a five-star restaurant keeps working no matter what happens. When I bring on new team members or introduce new processes, I always remind everyone about the value of being adaptable. No matter how well prepared you are, you will run across people not pulling their weight, products not arriving on time, difficult personalities and milestones not going as planned. The only thing you can control is how you react.
  4. Listen to the client
    Listening with an empathetic ear can smooth over even the toughest situations. Instead of imposing your expectations on the client, listen and observe what they truly want and deliver on those expectations. You may like your steak cooked a certain way, but the client may request chicken. Deliver what they are paying you for: your expertise, ability to make things run smoothly and passion for top-notch service.

I’ve used these four strategies to create better than expected results, which consistently leads delighted clients and teams that function calmly and efficiently. By cultivating adaptable team members with a willingness to listen, you create an environment where positive things happen, challenges are overcome, and problems are fixed without the client being involved in the day-to-day work. When you produce quality work and deliver the best service, your entire team is bound to reap the rewards of a strong client relationship.

What strategies do you use to impress clients? We’d love to hear them.