Back To School: Lessons Learned

April 29, 2015


A few weeks ago, I attended my first parent-teacher conference. Going into it, I really viewed it as a formality. I mean, how much could the teachers really tell me about my 20-month old? Well, five minutes into the conference and my husband and I were total goners. We were sitting on the edge of our seats – smiles tattooed on our faces, happy tears threatening to escape – listening to every word that came out of the teacher’s mouth. After 30 minutes of what can only be described as pure bliss, I got to wondering – do they say this to all the parents? Or is my child just exceptionally brilliant, funny and clearly the teacher’s favorite?

After a talk with a fellow Pony I learned that yes, they do say that to all the parents. But it’s not that all children (like mine) are remarkable students; it’s the way that the information is delivered. Does your child bite? They’re working on expressing emotion. Hits? They are practicing hugging. From that 30-minute meeting, it became clear to me that teachers – the good ones – have exceptional client-relationship skills, and we could all learn a thing or two.

Here are the top five lessons I learned that can be applied to client-relationship services:

1. Turn a negative into a positive.

It’s client relations 101, and teachers have it down pat. Don’t just state the negative, but instead discuss how the situation is handled, what is being worked on — and how you’re moving forward.

2. Make each person feel as though they are the most important.

Teachers have a number of students, and they somehow make each parent feel as though their child is the most important. The same holds true for clients – they should always be treated as the most important account.

3. There is always room to improve.

Never settle for simply meeting goals — always look for ways to exceed expectations.

4. Each person is unique.

Every account is different – clients have their own set of goals, expectations and preferences – and should be treated as such.

5. Never stop learning.

Just as there is always room for improvement, there will always be opportunities to learn. We can learn from our – and others’ – mistakes and successes, and apply that wisdom to future projects.