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I Don't Think You Do
There’s a fabulous Seinfeld routine where he shows up at a rental car counter with a reservation but they have no car for him. The agent tries to maintain her calm but gradually loses it, as Seinfeld pounds on the fact that he has a written confirmation for his reservation. She finally yells, “I know what a reservation is!”
Seinfeld responds, “I don’t think you do.”
Lufthansa maintains a fabulous first class service between the States and Europe. But their people on the ground are the stereotypical German officious, rule-bearing, impersonal automatons. They give orders, they don’t merely inform. They will not move one inch to help, but instead suggest where you should go—which is usually away from their desk. (When I asked about a gate for our plane I was told, “Go look at the flight board.”)
Lufthansa on the ground doesn’t know what a customer is. They know what passengers are, and what capacity is, and they certainly know their revenues. But they have no idea what customers really represent, so they don’t know how to treat them.
UPS has a different mindset. They, too, are highly detail oriented even to the point of telling drivers the most efficient way to hold a handrail when exiting the truck, or to always make three rights instead of one left (you don’t have to wait for traffic to allow you to cross over). Their website is fast and friendly, it’s easy to track the deliveries, and they send you reminders of when packages will arrive. Our driver brings biscuits for the dogs and, if the dogs aren’t around or we’re not home, he leaves the biscuits on top of the packages.
Are You Lufthansa or UPS?
Do you recognize the value and needs of your clients and customers? Are you making things easy for them or do they have to listen to 90 seconds of blather before they can leave a message on your phone? Do you anticipate their needs and provide resolutions or do you only reply when there is a paying project on the table?
Worst of all, do you communicate with them only through a third party—a real or virtual assistant—as though you’re a big deal who can’t be reached directly because you’re so busy (probably managing your assistant). Do you return calls and emails quickly, or do you get around to it when you can?
I keep using UPS because they seem to give a damn about me. So do Lufthansa flight crews, but their people on the ground might drive me away.
You have to understand that customers are your most important asset, not your IP or your equipment or your methodology. They have to feel valued and wanted. You have to uphold your commitments, real or implied.
Do you know who a customer is?
I’m not sure all of you do.
This book is for entrepreneurs, business owners, and anyone who seeks a better position for themselves and their talents, but who procrastinate, delay, and hang back.
You can and will get rid of the deadweight, and this book will show you how.
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SAC Annual Meeting
Join me for the upcoming Society for the Advancement of Consulting (SAC) annual meeting in New York City on November 5th-6th. I’ll be speaking on the 5th, followed with additional content from colleagues. Click to learn more and register. Or, you could join SAC and enjoy this conference at SAC member pricing as well as close to 20 archived best practice webinars and many other benefits with our bundle discount.