In a completely unprecedented announcement, I’m prepared to divulge Plante Moran’s recipe for great client service. Ready? Start with:
- Two parts technical expertise
- One part proactive advice
- One part candid communication
- One part responsiveness
- One part caring
Combine, add to client, and voila! That’s the Plante Moran equivalent to the Colonel’s 11 secret herbs and spices. And it works every time.
Or does it? Those five ingredients look great, but the truth is that there’s no recipe to great client service. (Sorry to disappoint you.) Every client is different, as are the Plante Moran staff who serve them. One thing I’ve noticed over the years, however, is that great client servers tend to have at least one thing in common: an emphasis on personal service.
I think of Bruce Berend, who was famous for dropping by—in person—unannounced just to see how his clients were doing. I think of Bill Hermann, who didn’t like sitting in his office and was always out bringing proactive ideas to our clients. And I think of the many partners who make sure client deliverables are made in person to ensure understanding and complete satisfaction.
I recently had a conversation with Dan Doescher, a Plante Moran partner and great client server, who voiced his concern that we could be losing our focus on that personal touch. And he could be right. Why take the time to meet in person when you can: call/text/e-mail/instant message/Facebook/Facechat? All of these technologies make it easy to interact with one another without leaving the comfort of our own offices. But as useful as these technologies are, the irony is that the more they connect us, the less we feel connected to one another. Because nothing can really replace the intimacy of that one-on-one human interaction.
The trick is balancing these sometimes conflicting forces—the efficiency of electronic communication with the intimacy of face-to-face contact. We talk about the need for balance a lot at Plante Moran, and this is just one more opportunity to choose the right balance.
What do you think? Do you think technology brings us together or drives us apart? Do you think that one-on-one personal interaction is still important when it comes to client/customer service? Does video technology help?