I am a fanatic about client/customer service, and I’ve written on the subject many times. Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles, in their book Raving Fans! A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service, have provided a new label that I love: RAVING FANS. Like a few other business authors, they’ve styled the book as a novel, in order to make their point.
Blanchard — well known for his book, The One Minute Manager — and his co-author suggest defining what Raving Fans means to your business by determining your response to two statements. These declarations are simple but profound.
Declaration #1: Decide What You Want
This may sound trite, but business owners often struggle in trying to describe what they want in a few simple words. The authors provide some practical stories which will help you craft your company’s declaration.
(Note: This is the do-not-say-you-can-do-everything-for-everyone concept.)
Declaration #2: Discover What the Client/Customer Wants
Again, the authors offer some excellent examples to help you complete your declaration.
As I was reading Raving Fans, I thought of a famous 1993 article written by Harvard professor David Maister: Quality Work Doesn’t Mean Quality Service. In my experience, this is a very common problem. I would summarize it by saying, “Don’t assume you know what your client/customer wants.” Here’s a great story to make the point:
One of my clients went on a sales call with a new business development associate. They met with the business owner, who described what he was looking for and provided his budget. The associate developed a solution for the client that was within the budget he had been provided. When the associate met with his boss (my client) to share his proposal, the boss said, “That’s not what the client wants,” and he proceeded to describe what he believed the client really wanted. The associate replied, “That’s double the budget!” My client suggested to the associate that he present both solutions to the prospective client — and, you guessed it, the business owner selected the higher-priced solution. My client, who’s been in business for more than 30 years, really listens to his clients.
Do you know what you want and what your client/customer wants?