If you work with customers…

I am currently serving in a customer service role more than I ever had in my life.

I suppose that the children I taught how to swim were customers, or really their parents, but they were pretty easily satisfied and probably didn’t hold my 14 year old self to a superbly high standard. I served coffee at Starbucks, but that is all extremely prescriptive, if you didn’t like what I prepared, then you didn’t like the Starbucks product. Yes, we had an opportunity to develop relationships with customers, to remember their drinks, or what they told us about their daughter’s school the day before, but I wasn’t there long to build any deep connection.

Then I worked for the government. Yes, I had clients, but they couldn’t fire us and it was a different environment.

As a consumer, I am fascinated by different levels of customer service. I LOVE it when companies get it right, or add that little extra touch – like a personal note when I buy tri gear from Coeur, or the funny features built into the stationary company Moo.

Now, as a business owner, one of my primary objectives is to provide a phenomenal customer experience. My services are not cheap, in fact, estate planning is a huge emotional and financial commitment. However, the service is valuable, and my goal is for clients to feel blown away by the value they receive when they work with Liz Smith Law. I love this challenge, but I have a lot to learn on my journey!

This podcast by Seth Godin really speaks to me as I learn how to react (as a human and as an organization) when we mess up, or when a client is upset with the level of service we provide.* If you serve humans, whether you are the boss or not, I encourage you to listen.

* You might view these as synonymous, but I think it is important to distinguish between a client being upset over the level of service we seek to provide and a client being upset because we messed up and didn’t provide the level of service we seek to provide. Clients might want X, when we are in the business of providing Y. Perhaps we don’t realize this initially and they get upset that we will not provide X. That person may be treated the same as the person upset because we didn’t provide Y the way we promised, but fundamentally these are very different circumstances and they should not be treated the same internally and sometimes externally.

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