Your business name in gold
I have often used the analogy of a shiny gold bar, when describing the effects of good and bad client service.
I ask the owners or managers of the business to visualise their company name or unique logo in six foot high letters made entirely from pure gold – very shiny gold.
This gold nameplate is then placed at the entrance to their premises, either mounted on an outside wall or preferably on a nice stand in their reception area.
It looks very nice and has significant value.
The idea then is to care for this gold bar every day by continually polishing it and making sure it doesn’t come to any harm.
The gold bar is of course a metaphor relating to the care of the organisation, and by continually polishing it to make it gleam you are caring for the said organisation.
You are both preserving and developing the value of both the gold bar and the organisation.
On the other hand, if you neglect the gold bar and don’t keep up the polishing it starts to lose its lustre. Worse still, if you don’t take great care of the bar when people are walking past it or it is being moved, IT STARTS TO GET DAMAGED and lose some of its value.
Visualising the gold bar
I try to get people to start thinking about all the actions they take within the business as being either those that care for or those that damage the gold bar.
It seems that it is much easier for them to visualise the golden brand name and think of that when they are having an interaction with a client – it is sitting there right behind them, gleaming.
Making it shine even more
Every time they are able to make this a positive interaction, and provide top quality client care, it has the effect of polishing the bar and making it gleam even more. This is particularly the case when the issue at hand is not the actual responsibility of the individual, but instead of either transferring a call or saying they will get someone else to call, they deal with it. They make sure the client’s issue is either dealt with or that the person who they need to speak with is fully briefed and on the case.
This really makes the bar shine.
Damaging the gold bar
On the other hand, we describe what happens to the gold bar when the client receives poor service. Every time the individual having the client interaction – with the gold brand name sitting right behind them – provides poor client care it has an adverse effect, and takes away the shine, making it duller. If the care is very poor, it will make a scratch in the bar and in the very worst cases actually take a chip out of it!
It is easy to make the gold bar duller simply by giving the impression of not caring. When we are the client, dealing with a supplier of whatever it is we are buying, we want to believe that the person we are dealing with actually cares. It seems to me that in many cases this is more important than achieving a resolution to whatever it is has been raised with the supplier.
When the client experiences care below that which they have been promised, or led to believe will be in place, this is when the bar suffers REAL PHYSICAL DAMAGE.
This is a good time to point out that repairing the damaged bar, especially if it gets a big chip taken out of it, is difficult and will take a lot of effort to recover.
The best client service is achieved when you keep polishing the gold bar and never let it suffer any damage!
If you have any comments on this article or would like to discuss any aspect of it please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0845 689 8750.
John Thompson is Managing Director and founder of Trans Capital Associates
Image by: Mike Licht