Inspired Client Relations: Tiered Service Levels?

Michelle Golden of Golden Practices, the blog for her Golden Marketing, Inc., company, gives us all some timely and sorely-needed permission to treat our very best clients better than the rest of our clients. That might rub you the wrong way – I admit I had a little difficulty typing that last sentence. But just wait a bit – read on:

Your firm or company should have base-line service standards that are applied to all customers across the board. All customers should be able to rely on treatment that is prompt, fair, respectful, and pleasant–even if the ‘news’ or ‘deliverable’ is unpleasant. This is reputation insurance if nothing else. The base-line standards should hold true no matter who is communicating with the client or who is responsible for them–whether the “lead” partner or manager, an assisting partner, a first year associate, a file clerk or the janitor. … But it might surprise you to that now I’m going to state that not all customers should be treated equally. Above your base-line standards (about which many firms don’t even have documentation or training, much less accountability…) it’s just not physically possible to treat all customers the same (silly little barriers like ‘not enough time in the day’ seem to prohibit this). It’s actually okay to give super-deluxe service to your very best customers, to give some extras to good customers, and to give your base-line (which I’d hope is still at least slightly above average) to all the rest.

(Emphasis mine)

Think about that for a second – if you reward your top-level clients with top-level service, what do you think will happen to your percentage of top-level clients? Don’t you think it will increase, thanks to the inevitability of word-of-mouth? Wouldn’t you prefer more of those kinds of clients? And if your baseline service is “at least slightly above average” you can let go of that guilt trip with a pure conscience.

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1 comment so far

  1. michelle golden on

    Thanks much for picking up my post! And especially for “getting it” — unfortunately, many who read this post and blogged about it didn’t understand what I was getting at (my fault, I’m sure) but you certainly did.

    Thanks!
    Michelle


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