Whenever clients reach out to you about support issues, remember this: Everything needs to flow through central dispatch, so what should you do when clients attempt to get around using the proper channels by texting or calling you directly?
Basically, when clients go rogue, put them back on track. You can accomplish this by understanding a few key points.
Sure, there’s a dilemma, but you can easily work around it — if you’re willing to dedicate time
You’re in a tough spot: Of course, you want to help, but at the same time, you need to keep your clients in line, otherwise, you, unfortunately, open up yourself to receiving unwarranted messages at all times of the day or night — and I’m sure your significant other and family members wouldn’t approve.
Here’s the thing: Despite common belief, you can have your cake and eat it too.
There’s nothing wrong with simply pointing out to clients the appropriate channels for contacting support. In fact, it’s better to put a client on the right path early in the relationship.
The longer you wait, the more difficult the conversations with clients become.
That’s why developing and maintaining high-value strategic partnerships with your clients is an essential part of your business, especially if you’re your company’s vCIO, where tracking unique client touches is one of your main responsibilities.
Keeping the relationship on an even keel
Whenever a client breaks protocol, act. You shouldn’t be contemplating how you’re going to respond when it happens. Why? You should’ve already had a process in place.
This ensures the right actions are going to be taken when issues arise.
Oftentimes, clients will thank you for being so consistent with the way your team responds to inquiries, even when the responses you’re delivering aren’t what they want to hear.
By responding with certainty, you show your authority on the matter at hand. It gives off the impression you’ve been doing this for a while and there’s a reason why the process you’re enforcing is in place.
(Remember: They’re paying you for your expertise, even when the advice you’re giving isn’t necessarily about technology; your goal should always be to focus on business results, remember?)
While maintaining steady relationships with your clients makes it easier to have difficult conversations, the only way to get the results you’re seeking is to act — but how?
Here’s what you can do
Whenever clients reach out to you directly about a support issues, remind them of the following: The fastest way to receive service is to either email or call support.
If these clients continue to reach out to you through the wrong channels — which happens a lot when you’re a one-man shop — give them a little tough love by sitting on their requests for an extended period of time (maybe a few hours or so). You do this to not pick a fight but prove a point.
Here’s the thing: Clients want you to solve their issues as quickly as possible, so if communicating with you through the proper channels gets them the results they desire, that’s how they’ll connect.
Getting clients to follow the proper protocols when reaching out about issues can be difficult at first, but if you properly invest in your relationships over time and show why using the appropriate channels is beneficial for all parties involved, your clients will more often than not adhere to your procedures.