You don’t have to be on a support or service team to provide excellent customer service. In fact, rising stars in most organizations treat coworkers, managers, clients and vendors as if they were valued customers.
If you want to move ahead in your accounting and finance career, think about whether your colleagues consider you a problem solver or a problem creator, a collaborator or a divider.
How can you get a handle on your customer service? Start by asking yourself these five questions:
1. Do you treat your colleagues as unique individuals?
For many people working in a demanding accounting role, it can be easy at times to focus only on the numbers. You may forget that people with the information you need are extremely busy professionals just like you. To give excellent customer service, be courteous and friendly in your interactions with colleagues. Make the effort to get to know people on an individual basis and develop friendships at work so you can more effectively build rapport and tailor your approach.
2. Do you ask them for feedback?
Some people don’t want to hear about what they could be doing better. But you can’t improve if you don’t know where your efforts are missing the mark. And if you don’t cultivate an openness to listening to others’ opinions, you’re less likely to hear kudos when you’ve earned them. Simply put, proactively inquiring about other people’s experiences working with you shows you care about your job and your workplace relationships.
3. When you receive constructive criticism, do you actually listen?
Asking for feedback is a great start. Take care to listen to what’s being said and, if the comments are on point, address them. If you aren’t sure, talk to your manager about the content of the feedback to help you figure out if you or your team needs to make changes to provide better customer service.
4. Do you lend a hand when your coworker is in a jam?
We’ve all been there: A back-burner project suddenly becomes the chief financial officer’s top priority. Or maybe it’s just taking longer than expected this month to get the data needed to close out the books. If you want to be regarded as a professional who gives excellent customer service to your team, volunteer to help others who are in a bind whenever your workload allows. This approach will likely come in handy down the road when you find yourself in need of assistance.
5. Do you offer potential solutions?
Few workplaces reward those who always have something negative to say. The best way to become a positive contributor is to think up or find a solution to present when giving constructive criticism.
Regardless of your role or level of experience, you can’t go wrong by adopting a more service-oriented approach.
Odds are you’ll advance more easily and find new job opportunities when you establish a reputation as a team player who always provides excellent customer service.