Expert advice, professional service. Clients pay for the former and they expect the latter as standard, rightly so. Consultants should take equal pride in both. Apparently some don’t. Maybe they feel that client service is beneath them. Oh dear.
Advice is a service that relies on expertise. Advice is about aptitude. Client service, on the other hand, is a mindset. It relies on attitude. Some people have the right attitude and they make customer service look easy. Some people make it look very difficult. You can train people to be better at customer service, or at least less bad. But some people just have a natural instinct for good service that can not be faked or simulated. By writing this post I am obviously and immodestly bracketing myself with them.
I was a good bartender.
I knew who was going to be served next and I let them know that I knew, so that they knew as well. I let everyone at the bar know who was next, and who was after them. It was obvious to my thirsty customers that I knew what I was doing, and that people would be served quickly and fairly. People relaxed. They stopped waving ten pound notes and feigning agitation. Mine was a calm bar.
And I never held a glass by the rim. No one wants to drink from where a stranger’s hand has just been. This isn’t intuitively obvious to everyone. It was to me.
In the hands of a good bartender people feel seen. Their expectations are anticipated and exceeded. A good bartender projects an aura of calm professionalism, turning money into drinks for reassured and relaxed customers. A friendly disposition helps, but it does not compensate for a failure to deliver on the basics.
Good service is about caring. It’s because you care that you imagine the kind of experience that customers want. It’s by caring that you give them that experience. This is as true for a brand strategy consultant as it is for a waiter.