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The customer as a partner and integrated into the process = good relationship and optimal result!
The Client Manager (CM) engages the client in the process
Customer relations is one of the biggest challenges for major brands around the world. Companies want to generate meaningful connections with the client, while all customers have their own particular objectives and behaviors.
Relationships can be nurtured either through proactive or reactive care. The most globally recommended way to improve your customer relations is through proactive care practices. The bedrock principle of a proactive care approach is to anticipate the customer’s expectations and take that first necessary step toward meeting those expectations.
A survey conducted of 6,000 customers revealed that only 13% of those surveyed reported having received some form of proactive care. Unfortunately, most companies employ a reactive customer care plan.
Proactive Customer Service vs. Reactive Customer Service
• Anticipate the problem
• Engage the customer
• Use real-time channels (OmniChannel)
• Customers have little to no relationship with the brand
• Service conducted via e-mail or phone
How does Elephant Skin prioritize customer relations?
According to CM Marianna Magalhães, ES has a dedicated professional customer service representative, the Client Manager, whose responsibility is to integrate the interests of the client into the development of their projects. The primary focus of the Client Manager is to establish and strengthen a solid working relationship with the customer, as well as to provide a personalized service/experience.
Employing a group of CM professionals for this relationship creates client proximity, bringing the customer into the company, as opposed to remaining a separate entity. For ES, the customer is not considered an external agent, but rather part of the entire development process. "Our greatest pride is in building relationships, developing strong communications, and delivering a precisely defined product, ensuring that the customer will be happy and fully satisfied," says Marianna.
When a company uses merely reactive communication, the customer tends to be oblivious to the process. There remains a divide/disconnect between the product itself and the agent for whom it was created.
"The objective of the CM and the Product Owner (PO), who deals with the more technical aspects within the project itself, is to clearly communicate the process of project development to/with the client. It is imperative that the CM establish this close relationship in order to understand their particular wants and needs. We choose to always walk side by side with the customer." In this way, the client is continually part of the process and free to give his/her opinion at all stages of production.
In some cases, the customer concept can be blurry, and so it is the role of the CM to gather as much information as possible in order to create harmonic clarity. Our relationship is grounded on transparency. The customer will always be in the know as to every step of the process towards final product delivery. And, in this way, through active communication and a mental alignment, we can ensure complete satisfaction at delivery. This tightly knit process allows the customer to visualize their project while still in the production stage, provide feedback, and update their expectations.
The responsibility of any global company is to understand what makes any culture (and its personalities) unique. Elephant Skin serves companies from all around the world. And this can pose a challenge, as each country has its own dynamics, cultures, and distinct personalities.
Simply put, the secret is to "know the customer!"
"Whether in a meeting, an email, or messaging thread, I try to understand each customer through their communications. I try to perceive whether I am engaging with a more reserved or outgoing personality if the client is a more objective person or someone who would prefer more open communication. I pay attention to the tone of voice, body language, etc. It is imperative to understand the person with whom you're conversing. Slow down and observe, to ensure a conducive and productive dialogue."
A project has been presented to the CM team. How is it then organized within ES?
Once we embark on a project, a preliminary meeting (Kickoff) of the COO, the Managing Director, and the client is carried out and the project is then directed to a team of professionals. At this point, the client becomes centralized in the production process.
From there, a conversation is initiated between the PO and all other teams involved in the scope of the project, and the CM bridges this with the client. Then a schedule and timeline are drawn up with the client, where he/she is informed of our feedback process, as well as their opportunity to monitor all development of the scope of their project.
Marianna explains, "If the client has commissioned more than one project, because of our focus on customer relations, every attempt will be made to maintain their involvement with the same CM team. But, this will always depend on the complexity of each project. If it is necessary for an additional team to meet the demand, the communication journey is again employed."
How much does the company's culture interfere with customer relations?
Marianna says that the great challenge currently facing companies is the need to build a healthy culture in all processes. "It's a delight to work with a collaborative culture. Here we work with autonomy and self-responsibility. This encourages a flexible and creative environment, where we can not only produce first class products, but at the same time, develop ourselves as people and professionals. I am free to have an open dialogue with anyone on the team. This aids in the ability to create the very best connection with each customer. You feel confident and secure, and the feeling can be contagious."
Communications Manager - Roberta Lemos
Jornalist Daiana Barasa and Juliana Rodrigues | Naiá
Interviewed - Marianna Magalhães – Client Manager at Elephant Skin
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