Having unfortunately spent most of Friday and parts of the weekend experiencing first-hand the Australian healthcare system due to an infected insect bite, it got me thinking about client service. Although not perfect, my experience of GP, emergency and outpatient care was a good one. Here’s four reasons why and how each element relates to what makes excellent client service in the PR world…
- Authoritative counsel. When I arrived at the emergency department I needed someone with the right expertise and skills to take control. Thankfully, I was seen quickly by a nurse that took time to explain what would happen to me, where I needed to go and what I should do. It’s the same in PR. When a crisis or issue hits a business it requires a rapid response from the PR agency and considered, strategic counsel on next steps.
- Questions. While I was assessed by doctors in the emergency department I was very impressed with the amount of questions they asked me in order to ascertain the best possible treatment. Afterwards, I felt not only comfortable they had explored all avenues but confident the treatment recommended to me was based on the best possible insight. It’s a little like the new client – PR agency relationship. The more questions the agency asks the deeper they get into the business and closer to understanding the challenges it faces. As I discovered as a patient, there’s rarely such a thing as a stupid question.
- Zero ambiguity. Before I was allowed to leave the hospital one of the doctors told me that I should only get concerned and come back overnight if my infection looked like it was getting very serious. I asked what very serious looked like, to which the doctor replied with a detailed description of what to look for. It reminded me how important it is to reduce any ambiguity in the agency-client relationship. Unless both parties are clear on the goals, objectives and expected outcomes, PR activity is unlikely to have the best possible impact. It’s also a good reminder of why asking the ‘what does success look like to you’ question is so crucial when planning.
- Human connection. Although the outpatient treatment I’m now receiving is fairly standard I’ve been impressed by the care and thoughtfulness of the medical staff I’ve been seeing. Not only are they helpful and informative, they remember my name, my interests and what I do. It’s a human connection that I’ve really valued and something so important in the PR agency – client relationship. When the chemistry is right and agencies connect with clients, great work and a whole lot of fun almost always follows.