working towards great client service

The leaked-out secret of confronting unexpected situations

“The secret of killing unexpected cases depends on your own behaviors. Don’t confuse yourself. Always keep calm in front of those circumstances. Assess the problem and then find the most appropriate solution to both benefits of your clients and company.”


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That is what Mrs. Pham Thi Ngoc Doan, a community manager of a largest female community in Vietnam seen as a member of IDG venture leaked out. She is responsible for beauty and fashion product development of the company. As an event executor, she has 5 years experiences to work with many different clients such as Estee Lauder, The Face Shop, L’Oreal, P&G and The Body Shop. She shared how to effectively to deal with clients in unexpected situations through her specific projects.

Case 1 – 20-10 event for female community

Based on 20-10 day, this event aims to thank frequent and VIP members of the company. Its target is to invite about 100 members to finger foot party at the restaurant, which agreed to sponsor 50% of party’s expenses. All invitations are sent to the members. However, one week before the event, the restaurant’s CEO changed the sponsored expenses from 50% to 20%.

In your opinions, how would she deal with this case? Find other place? Take invitations back and explain reasons? The answer is NO.

Mrs. Doan applied the ‘compromising’ strategy, one of five conflict-handling styles of TKI (The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument) (Thomas & Kilmann 1974). This strategy focuses on finding a middle ground as well as an acceptable settlement, which only partially satisfies both people’s concerns. Mrs. Doan said, “After negotiating with the restaurant’s CEO, reduce the cost of menu is the most effective way for this case”. Instead of serving wine, her company used cocktail as a cheaper kind of alcoholic beverage than wine. In addition, to promote its reputation, the restaurant allowed her to order cakes outside for the event. “In this situation, we should be professional to members, consider the company’s budget and be a good negotiator with clients” Mrs. Doan said.

Case 2 – Offline about beauty topics

Mrs. Doan applied the ‘collaborating style of TKI into this event. In other words, she found a win-win solution that completely satisfies concerns of both sides. Her company cooperated Estee Lauder, a manufacturer and marketer of prestige skincare, makeup, fragrance and hair care products to create Offline about beauty topics for Webtretho’s members. Besides, Estee Lauder is able to promote its new products. And this offline event is established successfully. However, the problem is there is not any member buying Estee Lauder’s products. Thus, Estee Lauder complained her company and intended to cancel contracts and withdraw all next projects.

I asked her “How would you do in this situation to keep the relationship with Estee Lauder as a big client?

She quickly answered, “Bearing to the client’s scolding first”.

She explained we should listen to their opinions, their problems first even although it’s not your fault. Then, she gradually explained by clarify the contract, which didn’t mention about increasing product’s income. In a meeting, by focusing on their needs, she provided the client many other styles of sales promotion to ease their mood. She said, “A great client manager not only listens to the client, but also seeking their requirements or needs to satisfy them”.

To solve unexpected situations, we should measure the outcomes of the problem and how it affects long-term relationships between your company and your clients.

Word Count: 583


Thomas, KW & Kilmann, RH 1974, ‘Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument’, Mountain View, CA: Xicom, a subsidiary of CPP, Inc.


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