I had an interesting experience last week when a client was in my office doing a face-to -face 1:1. They had travelled 90 minutes to be with me and they only had 45 minutes of my time.
I was on time at the start of the session and they knew that we would be finishing exactly on schedule.Imagine my surprise then when her phone went off midway through the session…and she answered it!
Turns out it was a customer and the lady concerned felt it was really important that she took that call there and then.
The price she paid was massive loss of concentration and focus on the meeting that we were having and of course she lost 11% of her allotted time with me.
People often find it strange that all my telephone calls are scheduled. I’m sure it would make it easier for them if they could just ring me up or that I just call them but I won’t let that happen – and I still prosper.
I provide clients with a very good service.
I honour and meet pretty much all my commitments and deadlines and, when I have a scheduled call or meeting, I’m prepared, in a good environment and, “all ears” when the time comes.
I know someone who is a Disney Vacation Club member. They have strict and clear rules about booking accommodation, the times you can check in and out, being late for restaurant reservations (they cancel after 15 minutes), etc. I would prefer to not be bound by these rules, but the truth is Disney provides consistently exceptional service, which I value a lot. They succeed at service without the surrender of control and, in part, actually BECAUSE of the imposition of rigid control.
This lady was foolish taking that call during a meeting with me. She – and indeed you – need not behave like a lowly servant to your customers in order to be of valued service.
Clients that come to see me or speak with me are not only respectful and well behaved, but most of them actually like me. You need not bow and scrape and surrender to be liked.
There is a key difference between service and surrender.
You can achieve excellent success with service without surrender and, having at least some rules around access to you, protocols and process would be a good thing.
Too many people are too slap-dash about how they manage their time and their relationships with customers – and their staff (try getting in my office during my morning 90 minutes and see what happens!) – and they are superficial in their thinking about what they need to do in order to be perceived as good.
Remember, never surrender…