Some people, no matter their stellar brainpower, impeccable work ethic and fantastic sense of style, should never be client facing. I’m not saying you shouldn’t hire them. You’d be crazy not to.
They’re great hunkered down behind their computers, doing research and hammering out strategy. Most of the time they’re the work horses of great organizations. But you don’t want them interacting directly with your clients.
You know the ones I’m talking about. They have book smarts but lack certain social graces. They don’t like interacting with people. You’ve heard of the term bedside manner? These individuals lack it.
So who should be interacting with your clients?
- Client-facing employees listen.
- They present well.I’m not talking model material here, but they understand what it means to represent your company.
- They tend to smile. A lot.
- They genuinely like people.
- They are present; they want to be there.
- They take time with the clients.
- They don’t think that they know more than the client just because they know something different from what she knows.
- They listen.
“But…,” you ask. Hold on. I get it. There are times when you’ll be tempted to send one of your desk-types out to do your client-facing work. But stop and think about it.
It is short sighted to push someone out there who doesn’t excel working with clients. The harm they cause can easily be worse than the temporary fix of having them deal with a situation. If a client feels that she is being patronized, for example, she won’t be able to hear what’s being said. She won’t ask questions. This could lead to resentment and the results could have long-lasting effects on your relationship.
How much is your relationship with your client worth to you?