Finance News & Insights

4 biz lessons Finance can learn from Customer Service

Management / Staffing Issues

True, you may not have to don a headset and man the company’s 800 number. But Finance does need to put its best customer service face forward. So how well are you doing?

Check out four customer service best practices to see how many your department has embraced:

Customer Service Best Practice #1: They know who their customers are

Yes, some finance folks interact with your company’s external customers. But every group has “customers” they serve every day. Have they all been identified? Yes, Credit deals with external customers, but if they start to view Sales as a customer, too, things may go a lot more smoothly.

Customer Service Best Practice #2: Customers know who you are

Despite the fact that they have to interact with so many people, Finance can still have a relatively low profile in the company. Many people may know who the CFO is, but not the names of your payroll clerk, A/P coordinator, etc. You want to change that as soon as possible. Make sure there’s a concerted effort to get people acquainted with all finance folks. If you deal with outside customers, think about sending a picture either at the holidays or with your next check run or invoices – its helps them put faces to names and makes Finance seem more accessible.

Customer Service Best Practice #3: You greet people promptly

Sure, you’re busy. But if someone does walk into Finance, you want to pay attention to them right away. A good gauge from the pros: A visitor should be greeted within 30-40 seconds of entering the department. Same goes with the phone: If you can’t pick up within two rings, you’re better off letting it go to voice mail to respond when you have the time.

Customer Service Best Practice #4: You’re trained on how to handle irate customers

Everybody loses it now and then. And Finance deals with one of the most sensitive subjects out there: people’s money. Whether it’s paychecks, invoices or retirement accounts – people can get really worked up if they think they’re being wronged. You can’t assume staffers have the tools to defuse such a situation. It’s one skill that needs to be taught.

How does your finance department adopt a customer service attitude? Share it here.

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  • Frank Taylor

    Our Finance group provides “Client Service” rather than “Customer Service”. Client Service implies a more professional relationship rather than “the customer is always right” approach. Our clients rely on Finance to provide good advice and to present options where possible even though we sometimes have to tell clients things they don’t want to hear.

  • Every call I make I greet the customer and begin with I was wondering kind og approach
    Or did you forget us? etc
    Every call coming IN I say What can I help you with??
    Then I let the customer set the tone ( positive or negative) many times its just that they do
    not know who to speak to.