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Excellent customer service – Stop cutting corners and remember what made you great

I am often really amazed at how easy it is to make a great difference to our clients’ experience of us, in very small and easy ways.

Today I visited the dentist. I’d broken a filling and needed to have it replaced. I don’t like going to the dentist, I have no logical reason for this or any phobia, but I just don’t enjoy it.

But, today was different. Today my dentist had a final year school student there on work experience. And as he worked on my tooth, he explained everything that he was doing, as well as the reasons for it all. I was more engaged, more interested and actually enjoyed the whole experience (until the bill, but hey, you get what you pay for!).

Cutting corners

So why doesn’t he do that every time I visit. My guess is that he doesn’t for the same reasons that many of us don’t add enough value to our clients’ experience. He hasn’t thought about it, or perhaps he used to but over time has forgotten to do what he was good at.

And, if every experience I had of visiting the dentist was like that, then I am sure I would refer business to him far more often.

We all get better and faster at our jobs as time goes on. We all find ways to be more efficient, and in doing so often start to cut corners. Sure, you get more done, but if you cut the wrong corners, then you risk reducing the quality of what you do.

Put the quality of service back in

Whether, like my dentist, this is explaining what you are doing, or it is spending enough time with a client at an initial meeting, taking the time to keep in touch regularly on the phone, or being genuinely interested in someone you work with or for. Cutting corners rarely makes us better in our clients’ minds. It just makes us feel less interested, less empathetic and less human.

We all know that people buy people, and that it is the personal relationship and rapport that you have put so much effort into building with them, that has allowed the client/trust relationship to develop. This is how you made that person you met at a networking event, or who was referred to you into a fee paying client.

Take action now

Take some time this week to think about your client relationships and processes. Look at those longer term relationships and ensure that you are still doing all the right things. Look at your newer relationships and ensure that you are doing those things to start with. All the things that made you great and successful in the first place.

Think about the simple stuff, how you answer a phone, how you make contact, whether or not you still take time to ask about someone’s well being as well as what they want from you, or you them.

Think about excellence (in a Tom Peters kind of way) – “when the going gets tough, think excellence…. In tough times, the pressure is such that there is often the temptation to cut corners. Think “Excellence”. Don’t cut corners.”

Think about it, and then do something about it. Being the best you can be in your clients’ minds often takes no more than refreshing what you know already.

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