June 5, 2023

The Power of a (Healthy) Client Obsession

Anyone who runs a business or leads a company’s growth strategy understands the importance of delighting their clients. From universally recognized consumer brands to small local businesses, clients are the lifeblood of almost any organization. As a result, there’s almost nothing more beneficial—or potentially detrimental—to a business than the quality of its client service.

That’s why at Mike Albert we’ve advanced our commitment to stellar client experience beyond what most expect.

We aren’t just client focused. We’re client obsessed.

Yes, “obsessed” might seem like a strong word. But that’s intentional. Being client obsessed isn’t for the faint of heart. It factors into every action we take as an organization. It’s the highest possible level of service and support, and it guarantees that our clients are at the core of everything we do.

As the director of client support, it’s my job to ensure we live out this core value day in and day out. Here’s what being “client obsessed” means to us.

Client obsession is personal.

The key to being client obsessed? Treating each client’s fleet as if it were our own. That means getting to know our clients and their businesses on a deeply personal level. What are their plans for the future, their short-term goals, and their long-term vision? How do they incorporate their corporate values into their strategy? What pain points and challenges are keeping them from their full potential? What are their expectations from their employees, their fleet vehicles, and their partners?

A comprehensive understanding of our clients is only one part of the equation, though. Once we’ve learned their business and objectives inside and out, we prioritize attentive, personal interaction and ongoing communication to identify and implement solutions that help transform their short-term goals and long-term vision into reality. We like to say that “no client is standard,” and that’s our gold standard.

Client obsession is intentional.

Building a culture that is client obsessed doesn’t happen by accident. It’s the result of many intentional, measured decisions and continued effort. That starts with hiring associates with the right skill sets and personality traits.

The talented individuals in our organization come from varied professional backgrounds and provide a wealth of expertise in their different areas of specialization. But they all share particular traits that are vital when assisting clients. Our associates are empathetic, positive, and encouraging. They are excellent listeners and skilled problem-solvers with a knack for finding creative solutions. They are adaptable and can pivot quickly when faced with new challenges. And most importantly, they are passionate about helping others.

Hiring the right people is essential to fostering a client-obsessed culture, but we’re also intensely focused on giving our associates the guidance and training they need to deliver the best service and client support. For example, we train our associates to follow the LAER approach:

  • Listen. Being client obsessed requires listening and truly hearing what clients want and need. Sometimes that means reading between the lines.
  • Acknowledge. Validation is a critical part of excellent customer service. Repeating and/or verbally acknowledging client challenges will strengthen your relationships and build trust and confidence.
  • Explore. A client might present a problem or issue, but is there something deeper that needs to be addressed? Associates need to know when to probe and ask the right questions to uncover the root of an issue—and find an effective solution.
  • Respond. Every response to a client should be specific and supportive. We never deliver a flat-out "no" to a client question or request unless it's an extreme circumstance. Instead, if saying a straightforward "yes" to a specific request isn't feasible, we say, "yes, with conditions" and clearly explain what the conditions are and why they're in place. And when we say we’ll handle a problem, we’re explicit on how and when a solution will be delivered.

Client obsession is company wide.

Being client obsessed doesn’t just apply to our client services team, it’s an essential mindset for our entire organization. After all, it’s not a team value—it’s a core company value.

Of course, our client services team is on the front lines with fleet managers, but the client obsessed mindset is equally as important for associates with more internal-facing roles. Our human resources team, for instance, is obsessed with providing stellar service to their own clients—our associates. That dedication improves the working lives of the entire organization, which ultimately benefits our external clients as well.

Client obsession is from start to finish.

People generally seek supportive and meaningful relationships that will stand the test of time. Think about some of your most loyal friends and trusted mentors; they’ve likely helped you grow, celebrated your successes, and stood by your side during hard times.

We believe that the same applies to our business. Being client obsessed doesn’t stop once the contract is signed. In fact, that’s just the beginning. To be truly client obsessed means that we work alongside our clients to improve their outcomes and meet their goals throughout the life of our partnership.

From assessing a client’s current fleet and offering initial guidance to regular check-ins on fleet performance and new trends, the true value of a partnership is most strongly felt in the everyday details. We aim to be a trusted and supportive partner to our clients from start to finish—someone they can lean on in good times and in bad.

Being client obsessed is tough work. It demands that we give our all for the long haul. But playing a small part in helping our customers reach their goals is what makes the effort worthwhile and keeps fueling our obsession.

-Mary Jo Nagel, Director of Client Support