Guest Post: 4 Reasons #PR Pros Need Customer Service Skills

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A Guest Post By Corina Manea, PR & Social Media Strategist

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 7.05.31 PMPublic relations professionals are required to have many skills these days, from excellent writing to knowing how to read data or to be efficient. It’s no secret that to succeed in PR you need to be a “forever student”, always learning, always ahead of trends and constantly improving your craft.

During my career, I have noticed that one particular skill is often overlooked when it comes to training new PR pros and that is customer service.

You might wonder what has customer service to do with PR? A lot.

Let me explain:

As a PR pro you are “the face” of your company, whether you’re working in house or for a PR agency. You are the one interacting with your company’s different publics and you have to know how to interact and respond to each of them. A public often overlooked is the internal client, as in colleagues from your department or from different departments of your organization.

Knowing how to understand those different publics is crucial for every PR pro. It’s the only way to build meaningful, long-term relationships.

4 reasons PR pros need customer service skills:

  • Put yourself in their shoes

Unless you put yourself in your client’s shoes, you won’t understand their needs and problems. That’s the first rule taught in customer service trainings. Well, it applies very well to PR too.

Learn about your client’s industry and try to think like them, see things through their eyes, so you can better understand their issues. Take a step back and come up with a plan how to tackle each and every one of their worries.

  • Put your client first

Chris Brogan said: “Customer service isn’t a chore. It’s the new PR” and it’s true.

Put your client first, make them feel unique, make them feel you truly care about them beyond your job. In one word treat them like people, not like a task on your to do list.

Great customer service is not offering good discounts to products, but subtle things such as remembering a personal thing about your client, like his birthday, anniversary or an important event they talk to you about, or calling to say hi and wish them a nice day.

Whatever it is you do, adding a personal touch takes the relationship with your client to the next level. They become advocates of your company and they will only want to work with you.

  • Give them the best possible experience

Always strive to deliver the best experiences for your clients. Think about how would you like to be treated if the roles were reversed and then act accordingly.

Maya Angelou famously said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

  • Under promise, over deliver

That’s probably the motto of PR these days. However, in our rush to serve as many clients as possible, we often forgot it’s best to under promise and then over deliver than the other way around.

Customer service skills are needed by any PR pro. They can make the difference between success and failure. And remember you have external clients (your company’s clients) and also internal clients, aka your colleagues and boss(es). They are all your clients, so be thoughtful in building meaningful relationships with them.

Do you agree? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Corina ManeaCorina Manea is an independent PR professional and social media strategist, currently living in Madrid, Spain. Founder of NutsPR and with more than a decade in PR and customer service, she is passionate about helping businesses and individuals connect with their audiences on social media, while building irresistible brands.

10 Responses to " Guest Post: 4 Reasons #PR Pros Need Customer Service Skills "

  1. Kait says:

    Excellent use of Maya Angelou’s quote here – “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So true, and so important to remember, in PR and in life!

  2. I agree, Kait! Corina really drives home the point on “best possible experience” with this quote. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  3. Corina says:

    Indeed Kait, it works in PR and in life. Thanks so much for your comment.

  4. Great post Corina. It’s been shown that the folks who talk about your brand [your unpaid PR team in a sense] are the ones who are thrilled with you or are pissed off!

    Customer service can play a large role in creating or determining the outcome of an interaction. Kait picked a perfect quote to illustrate this.

    A software company lost me as a client last week when their support person insisted that I was to blame for their issue I had with their software- that I hadn’t used it right, and therefore wasn’t offering me any support to resolve the problem.

    The experience with the software company was followed by an interaction with a company that demonstrated exceptional and unexpected service; it prompted me to write about this very topic for my own blog this week!

    Any perception by a company that CS isn’t part of their PR is sadly misguided.

  5. Jane, I agree. It’s a very sad day when CS is not a part of PR. Looking forward to reading your post on the topic. Please share when it’s published. Thanks!

  6. It’s easy to forget just how big a part customer service plays in reputation – and what is PR if not about building and managing reputation? Branding? It’s not just about news visibility, it’s about building that reputation, that trust, that brand journalism, that influence…

    Great post, Corina!

  7. Corina says:

    Thank you Jane. I have had my share of that kind of experiences as well. It’s a shame how fast you can lose a client when two of same company’s departments don’t communicate with each other.
    Looking forward to reading your post.

  8. Corina says:

    Indeed Carrie. The two go (or should go) hand in hand. Most of times, what PR department builds, a small error in CS ruins everything.

    Thank you Carrie!

  9. […] don’t mean to train your customer service team on how to sell your product or service. Of course you should do that, if you want to sell anything […]

  10. […] sales training is important, you must also teach the soft skills of customer service. Listen to your clients and […]

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