While many IT professionals earn their stripes with technical prowess, knowing and managing client needs will gain you credibility and career success over time. Paul Glen, author of Leading Geeks, published a succinct and insightful book entitled 8 Steps to Restoring Client Trust. For anyone who has to manage client services or IT projects, this is a quick and easy read on how to develop some of the ‘softer’ skills of client and customer management.
We’ve all heard it. Clients calling in a rage, crisis, or extreme dissatisfaction. They want someone, something, to blame, and you’re often the easiest, quickest target. Even easier is to bark back, defending your ground. It doesn’t have to be that way and this book offers some practical advice.
Most IT professionals are logical thinkers. That’s what drives them into the field, that’s what makes them tick. When emotions rise, however, it requires a different approach. This book offers simple strategies for how do address those incendiary incidents in a way that actually helps you identify and resolve their issues. Nine times out of ten, it has nothing to do with the technology. Glen’s 8 steps are to:
- Be prepared
- Get the facts
- Identify the feelings
- Let them know you got it
- Dispute (or articulate) the facts
- Frame the problem
- Address the feelings
- Handle the problem
Each are described in easy terms with strategies on how to execute. One of the points I like best is the emphasis on active listening. This also dovetails with the need to demonstrate that you do not want to engage them in an emotional response, but rather work to help understand the core issues and resolve them. That, in effect, is his key point, and it will earn you more trust and confidence with clients over time.
This is a quick read with case scenarios. If you’re in a service-oriented IT role, I highly recommend this book.