In my past life in the banking industry, my operations team’s function was to move money where it needed to go, ensure systems were functioning to move the money and get deals funded. The focus was on the process, since another department handled the relationships. With Credentials being an outsource provider, I am still in the thick of the processes, but added the relationship piece to the job functions of the Client Relationship Management Group.
When companies outsource a part of their operations, they may feel like they have lost some control over their processes. It is easy to forget that this can be difficult for a company to handle, making the service the outsource provider delivers even more important. With Credentials, the client always calls the shots.
The key to providing great client service is to build a customer service organization around the client to support just about every need that may arise. Most of this support comes in the form of people. It is incredibly important for a client to have a dedicated relationship manager that communicates with them on a regular basis, while at the same time having an entire team behind them to collaborate with on issues. Ours comes in the form of an internal team dedicated to implementing our services and a second internal team for to day-to-day support.
Sometimes client satisfaction is measured by the accessibility of its relationship manager. Answering the phone and responding to emails in a timely manner goes a long way. Even if the relationship manager cannot answer a question immediately or does not have the answer, touching base with the client and notifying them that you are working towards a solution is critical to relationship management.
Relationship managers can also take a consultative role. Understanding a client’s environment and reviewing internal processes to make system, service and solution recommendations put you a cut above the other providers they are utilizing. This can also be accomplished by implementing an Annual Review program, making clients aware of new product and service developments and helping to optimize their operations.
Building relationships takes time, but making a commitment to client service allows an organization to build trust with its clients and help solidify the vendor relationship.