Long briefing calls.
The unending chase for approvals.
Add to that the many cups of chais gulped down to just keep the energy up.
Life can be quite monotonous as a client service agent.
Monotonous, dreary even.
And let me say, unlike my favourite brews, monotony is not my cup of tea. Meeting new people, knowing their whims and fancies and finding a common ground despite the different backgrounds – that’s what interests me. (Doing all this and more without being nosy or intrusive is an art I have acquired over time) I’m curious to know someone and learn a bit from their diverse life experiences.
So naturally, client servicing was never inherently my kind of job. However, through a chance encounter (read Divine Guidance), I landed a job with Copylove as a Client Service person. Initially, I followed suit. I was available to the clients when they required me to, ensuring everything was delivered on time and as desired.
It’s been a ride from the start
Turned out, a role this simple was always challenging for some or the other reason. The client always shared ‘unfair timelines’, while the team was always ‘coping with it’. Add to that the multiple rounds of feedback. Personally, it was not a happy juggle to be in a place where everyone was pushing to get work done.
One day, after such a frustrating call, I decided to believe that though my role was limited, my passion and good intent couldn’t be. If I wish for work to be happy and easy-going, it can be. This helped me how I’d like to change the way I look at my role and what improvements I could bring to change it.
I decided to change the way I played this role.
And the learner for life that I am, heaven sent me the support and guidance I needed to unlearn, learn and grow. Whether it was a change within or outside, I was willing to make it happen. So this all-heart person put her heart to the mundane list.
Talk, negotiate, connect with a person – aka client
The first thing I learned was that my client is a ‘person’. Not the company, not the work, a human first. And I need to relate with them at a human level to understand them. For this, they need to feel heard and understood clearly. I began changing how I spoke to them on mails and on calls.
As I tried to understand my clients as people, I learnt that each of them needed a different way of assurance. For some, a pleasant greeting in the morning worked, for others, simply hearing them out and not opining worked, and for most,assuring them that we will do our best, helped.
Lists save lives
Next, from simply exchanging requirements and deliverables list, I actually developed the drive to walk a few steps in their shoes and know their challenges. This unveiled a solutionist in me, one that I had hidden under the notion ‘clients are like this’. For me, it was more about finding what more I could be and offer to the client than dealing with the client and team.
Teamwork makes dreams work
Slowly, the number of clients that would usually give ‘tough time’, reduced drastically. I would also share with my team the different possibilities of looking at the scenarios. And to my surprise, the team was also willing to give their best. That’s when I learnt that anything you give your heart to, offers you a response and not a reaction.
From miscommunication to flourishing
As I grew in my journey, things that were an effort for my team to communicate to the client, became easier. Also, the things that my team didn’t understand from their perspective, I could communicate with them. This developed a more compassion-centric approach to my work. When you give all of yourself to your work, it responds to you.
The power of convincing
Another important learning for me was – when clients are shown our side of the story, they are more than willing to help with timelines.
Communication is one of the most important skills in this world. Yet, most of us struggle with it from time to time. Same is true at work. However, through my work, I learnt to communicate better in my personal relationships. Magic, right?
To summarise, I’d match quotes by Steve Jobs and Mother Teresa, to make my own-
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And sometimes, great work is all small things with great love.”