Whether you are popping in for the first time or are a regular reader of this blog, this is a quite unusual article. In fact I’m going to bring you into my average week as Digital Customer Service consultant. The reason why? Many of you have asked me what happens in my ‘backstage’ – meaning before and during each meeting with my clients. The icing on the cake: some lessons learnt that you can also take advantage of.
New day, new town, different clients needs
After almost 20 years working for insurance companies, on October 31, 2014 I quit my job to start my new solo-career. 8 years on, one of the aspects of my job that I find most exciting is helping organizations with different backgrounds because they:
- Belong to different industries – as I’ve been working with banks, e-commerce, telco, utilities, automotive, supermarkets and oil/gas producers companies just to name the most recurrent ones.
- Have various sizes – my smallest client have just 30 employees with a customer service team of 3 people, my biggest one have over 5.000 employees and over 100 people in their customer support team.
- Are based in different areas – thus they have different culture and behaviors, since they are based in different regions of Italy and abroad (mainly Europe). This aspect plays an important role in terms of strategic view, especially if all their customers live in the same region.
Why time management is like water
As Digital Customer Service consultant, trainer and speaker I get to travel quite often, so I have to prepare most of my work before my ‘performance’ with the client. Some examples? When it comes to training (setting up slides and conversational exercises), 1-to-1 coaching (material for the next session with a customer service manager) or giving a keynote speech (focussing on the main goal and deciding when engaging the audience). Consequently I plan way ahead 90% of my tasks, estimating the duration of each of them…and leaving some free time slots in case of unforeseen events. Looking back at these last 8 consulting years, I have improved these skills to such an extent that time management has become one of the 5 key pillar topics of my Customer Culture Academy.
A glimpse of my typical week
Now let’s pack the bags and hit the road together. In fact I’m going to share the most relevant moments that I lived as customer service consultant during last week, because they mirror pretty well an average one.
- Monday – I did a customer service training session for a client (global software provider) and it went pretty well. As it was the very first one with them, I was very happy because the moment that I concluded it participants spontaneously applauded! I was so delighted because they have perceived and enjoyed both my professionalism and personal values. At the end of the day I got home and checked my email box answering to a couple of them. For unknown reasons, I get urgent requests whenever I’m out of the building at a client. Sound familiar? 😉
- Tuesday – in the morning I prepared a consulting meeting for a client to be held later on the same week. The focus: analyzing and reviewing their Digital Customer Service KPIs and SLAs. In the afternoon I met a new potential client to learn about their specific issues, needs and expectations. Afterwards I put in order all the notes that I’d written during the meeting.
- Wednesday – At 06:30am I started my 2-hour drive off to a client where I’d give 2 customer service training sessions: morning and afternoon teams in order to ensure continuity of service. Both sessions were focussed on exercises where participants simulated emails with customers to apply conversational guidelines (tone of voice, Do’s & Don’ts). Then, at 05:30pm I kept driving for further 2 and 1/2 hours to reach the hotel where I’d stay to be ready for the next morning (close to another client’s head office).
- Thursday – the consulting meeting (KPIs) went pretty well and it was a great opportunity to meet their management time face-to-face, after three previous video calls. In fact I got to know more about each other people I’ve talked to and will keep on working with for the next 3 months. After a quick – but good lunch together – I got into my car but on my drive back I added an extra stop to meet a some peers that I had not see for over 3 years, due to the pandemic. We had a short, great time together, even though I started feeling physically tired due to such an intense week.
- Friday – Back in Milan. First off, I checked up and answered all incoming emails that I’d received during my previous traveling days. Then I had two online meetings with clients to report ongoing activities and plan next ones to be carried out. In the afternoon I took advantage of my Tuesday notes to prepare a customized proposal for a new potential client. Then sent it over.
Image: Paolo Fabrizio [a coffee break with clients]
And the weekend? I usually spend half a day to prepare / complete tasks for the forthcoming week or writing new articles like this passionate one. Afterwards, well-deserved relax: quality time with family and friends, a good meal at home or restaurants. Last but not least, my passions: I love listening to music and watching Rugby matches on TV…because life is oval. 🏉
Ask me your questions
Now that this journey into my week as a customer service consultant is coming to its end, I’m curious to know what did intrigue you most? What are your Digital Customer Service challenges this year?
Of course feel free to ask me any questions: drop me a line or send a voice message.
Have great conversations.
Image credit: Paolo Fabrizio.