It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages. –Henry Ford
I’ve had two very recent interactions with the new generation of entrepreneurs that left me walking away scratching my head as to what business and customer service principles are at the core of their work. Let me describe them to you.
First is a small group designing websites and developing branding concepts for businesses. They have a long list of customers and their work is definitely targeted to help build the overall brand image as well as the website. So, a couple of months ago we invited them to visit our offices and discuss a potential website project. They were definitely full of ideas, concepts and couldn’t wait to show us their portfolio and to give us advice. So far, so good. After the meeting my partner asked them to send us a proposal.
And here’s where the wheels came off. We received nothing – no communication and no proposal. When we finally talked to a mutual friend who made the initial introduction, he explained that they were very busy at the moment with multiple projects, but would definitely get back to us. Still nothing.
Fast forward two months later and out of the blue we get an email from this group saying that if we were still interested, they now had time to work with us. We declined.
Example number two. We are looking for architects for a building project and one young up-and-coming firm came highly recommended. We met in their offices, liked their portfolio and approach and asked them for a work plan. The senior partner kept saying how busy they were and how they had many important projects in the works. He was definitely enamoured with his own success and was especially proud of one assignment in Europe for a very important client. The upshot of this interaction is that they maybe could fit us in a couple of months. But of course, they did want our job.
Both these experiences left us feeling like we were “just a job” as opposed to being a valuable client. I believe, like Seth Godin, that unless you are willing and able to make each and every client/customer feel “special” and important, you are damaging your long-term success.
People want to feel like valued clients or customers, not a job number on a planning schedule of work to be done. Unless you are willing to treat each and every client or customer as special, your business is highly vulnerable to those who will.
If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful. –Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.com
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress