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Client service: strategic communication tool

BY: Patrick Twumasi

Client service is an important skill that should be consciously learned to enhance and sustain relationships for long-term business growth.

The failings of many business relationships have come largely by poor client service.

Hence, the Civil Service establishment and employees need to urgently develop business practices that centre on the needs of a potential client.

Therefore, every decision should give value to a service receiver who walks into any Civil Service institution for a transaction.

In the attempt by the Civil Service to maintain good relationships with clients, there is the need to continuously review client service processes.

The appeal of the Civil Service to do business with the general public is dialed down, whenever client service is ignored. This is not a loaned historical fact, but a situation you might have been confronted with over the years.

Service

Client service is how a company identifies and meets customers’ needs through its interactions with an individual or group of individuals.

Companies exist to satisfy the need of individuals and other entities.

This calls for a well thought out consistent strategic communication. Hence, it calls for prudent research to know the needs of these entities.

This will require that feedback from these clients are carefully analysed and incorporated into decisions, which will inform feedforward.

Hence, the Civil Service should not just offer services, but actively and consciously work to meet customer needs politely.

Therefore, investing consistently in quality training of staff will result in reaping rewards in the form of satisfied customers and happy employees.

Constant training of staff on how to engage and relate with clients will position them to handle situations with tact and decency. 

Unnecessary exchanges with clients are detrimental to the growth of the Civil Service.

Responsiveness

Additionally, prompt responsiveness to client concerns is a signal of seriousness attached to complaints of clients.

In the instance where enquiries take weeks and sometimes months without response is an unfortunate culture which should be eschewed.

It is a bane that has stifled the growth of many Civil Service institutions and companies in Ghana. However, analyzing client suggestions on how to improve client service is very important.

It impacts on relationships, policies, procedures and products to meet customer needs. Because for successful establishments to survive, long-term relationship with the client is important.

Nonetheless, the accessibility of business by clients, who are confronted by a challenge, is imperative. A business that offers limited customer service contact or only offers one method of communication, such as telephone contact and lacks client service representatives to attend to the queries of clients is likely to develop a bad reputation that will eventually harm the business.

This goes to admonish institutions which do not respond to telephone calls, do not return calls, advertise telephone contacts which do not work or are disconnected.

Ivan Broom (2007) in his book, Effective Pubic Relations, defined Public Relations as a strategic management function that establishes and maintains a mutually beneficial relationship between an organisation and its publics on whom its success or failure depends.

This indicates that for the Civil Service to survive in the ever-growing competitive business environment, client concerns must receive the uttermost attention. Hence, client communication is two-way.

They must be listened to and their apprehensions factored into decisions. Broom’s definition of PR vividly identifies the publics of firms as the hinge on which the success or failure turns.

In spite of the above, poorly trained representatives are also a challenge.

It is a mistake for organisations, especially, public institutions to treat the client service department as an afterthought. This is a part of the company, which can speed up its demise or success. On the contrary, competent client service professionals are excellent communication and problem solvers, they are capable of keeping their cool under pressure.

The Civil Service, therefore, should see client service as key to delivering satisfying work. If the Civil Service takes for granted client service, we will only cast ourselves as vessels of public anger.

The writer Heads the Public Relations Department of the Non-Formal Education Division, Ministry of Education (MoE)
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