“Fix the Customer First” is one of the first admonishments every service professional receives. Making sure the customer is fully informed and comfortable with the progress of the work is critical to maximizing customer satisfaction. When you evaluate On-Demand Professionals you are considering engaging, do you focus on their interpersonal skills? Can you feel comfortable putting any given candidate in front of your customers? They represent you even if they’re not your employee. How to build your confidence in using an On-Demand Workforce.
You start out a little ahead of the game. When you engage an On-Demand Professional, you’re working with a technician who has decided to be in business for themselves. Their continued success depends not only upon on their technical capabilities, but also their reputation for being professional, pleasant, and easy with which to do business.
This doesn’t relieve your responsibility to make sure they live up to that reputation. Your company has the same dependence upon a sterling reputation. Your clients are always reacting and responding to the professionalism of every person that you send to assist them. They don’t differentiate between those that are on your permanent staff and those you’ve engaged from external sources. When your client sees someone you’ve sent to provide services, they see you.
What Does “Professional” Really Mean?
Professional is in the name we give our on-demand technicians: TDX Pros. This assumes a level of professionalism from each and every one of the technicians we connect with our clients. The ability to work hard, technical certifications, communication skills, persistence, passion, self-discipline and initiative are some of the most important characteristics we look for in our TDX Pros. It’s part of the DNA for every successful freelancer – and reflects an entrepreneurial mindset.
However, the most important definition of “professional” is your own. This is a very subjective term, open to wide differences in definition. When interviewing and evaluating potential On-Demand Professionals for engagement, you benefit yourself most by putting as much effort into determining their professionalism as much (if not more) than their technical acumen.
To make it easier to perform this evaluation, as with anything, break it down into smaller pieces. Here are a few popular components:
Clients are the most valuable asset any company has, your essential reason for being. Most clients are keenly aware of this, and just as keenly aware when your personnel don’t show respect and appreciation for it. They will show you and your people respect after you’ve delivered excellent services to them. You and your people must show that respect to them at all times.·
- Prompt and Time-Sensitive
Being prompt is a function of being respectful. Professionals recognize that their clients are busy people with many demands on their time. Arriving late demonstrates insensitivity to the client’s responsibilities. Sometimes, this is unavoidable, but the professional reaches out or has their home office reach out to advise the client in advance.
- Pleasant Demeanor
It takes far fewer muscles to smile than to frown. Professionals leave their personal issues and challenges at home and show up ready to work and happy to be there. This is reflected in every interaction with the client. Friendly, reassuring treatment is always appreciated. One frequent area to pay attention to is vernacular. Technology experts may easily lapse into highly technical jargon that is lost on clients. Make sure all communications are very clear and accessible to client personnel.
- Diligent Attention to Detail
Nothing disappoints clients more than when you miss something. Something is left undone. You left something out. Professionals are check listers. They share their checklists with their clients to provide assurance and build confidence. They know or have researched everything they need to know before they begin any project.
- Thorough and Standards-Based
Professionals recognize that others may follow them. They make sure that everything they do is well-documented and adheres to recognized standards so others find what they expect to find when supporting the same environment. Thoroughness also includes the respect they show for the physical spaces they work in. It may be a client’s desk, or their data center, or wiring closets. Wherever they are performing work they leave it in better condition than they found it.
- Informative & Communicative
Saving the most important for last, a professional’s communication skills are their most important asset, and most critical to their success. In an interview you can evaluate a candidate’s communication skills without asking a single question. Clients dislike surprises and appreciate being kept informed of progress. Professionals anticipate questions and provide answers before they are asked. Great communication skills can often compensate for other shortfalls.
This is by no means a comprehensive list but should provide an excellent starting point for careful evaluation of every potential On-Demand Professionals professionalism. The right person with the right personal presentation perpetuates your client relationships.