As the worlds of IT and business continue to converge, the more important it becomes to provide quality client service.
By its nature, high personal quality service brings with it, high job performance ratings. This may seem like an obvious advantage, and it is, but the best way to look at your performance rating is as the means to an end, rather than as an end in itself. Certainly it feels good to be told you are doing great work, but don’t underestimate the professional rewards that accompany strong performance reviews.
Financial rewards: These rewards include higher annual pay raises and potential bonuses and other monitory items. Regarding pay raises, the difference between a 2% raise and 3% raise in actual dollars may seem small, but over the course of a few years, these seemingly small percentage raises can dramatically increase your pay. Remember, each year’s raise is based on the previous year’s salary. In the long run, compounding at 2% is very different than compounding at 3%.
Opportunity to work on best projects: Logic dictates that if people like the work you provide, they will want you to work on more of their projects. This demand for your time and attention, within certain bounds, will allow you to pick the projects you wish to work on.
The opportunity to select your project has many huge potential advantages including the following: • Picking projects that are most likely to forward your career because of their visibility, potential for success, alignment with your professional strengths, and/or other related factors • Picking projects that require the least or most travel, based on your personal preference and current life style • Picking projects with people you enjoy working with • Conversely, keeping away from projects you have no interest in for any number of reasons
Given the benefit of the doubt: This benefit falls under the category that no one is perfect. The advantage of being given the benefit of the doubt is that when mistakes happen you will be less harshly judged than others because of your track record of success. The one caution when using/relying on this benefit of great work is that you can’t use it too often.
Protection during downsizing: Certainly great people lose their jobs when companies downsize, it’s a numbers count. If there are ten people in your department and four must go, many factors in addition to performance are considered when deciding who stays and who goes. Alternatively, if the entire department is deemed to be expendable, you will be looking for new employment regardless of your personal performance. In fact, most often layoffs occur because people are at the wrong place at the wrong time, rather than because of their personal performance. All that said, if those judging your work believe it to be of high quality and your personal demeanor is such that people like working with you, then this can reduce your chances of being adversely effected when layoffs hit.
Increases potential for promotion: People are considered for promotion when quality work, professional demeanor, leadership potential and opportunity converge. If you consider great service to be the combination of quality work and professional demeanor, then providing great personal client service gets you half there.
Option to move into a business role: Bringing the discussion squarely into the world of IT, very often people with IT made the career move from the IT profession into the profession of those they serve. As an example, I worked with a great techie supporting the financial accounting systems. Through this work, he gained a deep understanding of the accounting processes he helped to automate. He also gained an appreciation and love for the accounting. Because of the great service he provided the accounting group, they were thrilled to bring him into their department, thus changing his profession from technology to finance. If he did not provide great personal client service to the accounting group he would have never been given the opportunity to change professions.
In closing, when you generally think of client service, you tend to think of it from a company, rather than a personal perspective. Remember, however, that companies are not the only ones with customers. Everyone has customers. If you are the Manager of Accounting Systems, then the Accounting department is your customer. If you are a Database Administrator, then the programmers writing applications on the databases you designed are your customers. All that said, keeping the concept of personal client service in mind will help those you serve and, in turn, be of great value to you personally.
If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.
Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to build your professional brand.
Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.