We all consider ourselves technical experts. Some of us even are! Some people graduate at the top of their class academically and never make it big in the world, while others are B or even C students yet they outperform the rest of the workforce. What’s the secret?
The secret is that technical expertise is a small (often very small) part of the success equation. Services are experienced. They are not merely purchased like a product. The client remembers how you got them to the answer versus just the answer itself. Good service is subjectively determined by the individual client manager you are working for. If you are not meeting his or her intangible and tangible expectations, you are failing. The key is to ensure you understand these expectations and communicate in a style and frequency that meets them in addition to getting the technical work done.
Nobody likes the doctor with a bad bedside manner, or the rude waiter even though they may have cured your illness or gotten your order correct. Conversely, you don’t mind giving the waiter who makes a mistake a break if they apologize and work hard to fix it. Problems will happen. It’s how you handle them that sets you apart or gets you fired. (I realize that analogy does work so well for the surgeon who operates on the wrong leg, but you get my drift.)
Pay attention to the intangibles. Go out of your way to be courteous, respectful, communicative, and anticipate the client’s needs. Be easy to work with. You will be amazed at how fast you rise to the top of the class!