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Respect own boundaries and others will, too
Tribune Media Services
Q: I handle many important accounts for my company. We have clear policies about what account managers do for clients, but I've always gone above and beyond what these policies require.
Now, my boss is increasing the number of accounts I manage and I can't continue my extra services. How do I break the news to my clients?
A: Rule No. 1 in customer service: Most people will take for granted whatever you habitually do, regardless of whether it's company policy.
Rule No. 2 in customer service: Few people will appreciate these "extra" services, but most everyone will be upset if they are withdrawn.
If you understand these two rules, then you'll have an easier time orienting your clients to your new limits.
An effective way to alert your customers to the changes goes something like this, "As you may know, our policy is that we don't usually take customer calls during evenings or weekends. I have often made an exception to this policy for you, but my organization is expecting stricter adherence to our policies from all account managers. I enjoy working with you and will get back to you promptly between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday."
No matter how much you love your customers, you're training them to become demanding and unappreciative if you frequently break policies or don't point out when your service is above and beyond the call of duty. If you don't respect your own boundaries, no one else will, either.
Thursday: University Book Store, Bellevue store, 990 102nd Ave. N.E.
The last word(s)
Q: I enjoy dressing uniquely. My boss says I need to wear more conservative clothing. Is clothing that expresses your unique personality a problem at work?
A: Not if you're an artist.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., is an executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker. She can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry, no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to: www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube
Copyright 2006, Tribune Media Services