27 May Nobody Cares (How Awesome You Are)
Nobody Cares (How Awesome You Are)
There is an interesting article in the current Bloomberg Businessweek that hardly qualifies as breaking news – since Tenacity has been saying the same thing for over 30 years now. You can link to it at: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-05-23/nobody-cares-how-awesome-you-are-at-your-job#r=most%20popular.
You know, if you’ve been following our blog, that expectations are immensely powerful. It’s not what we do for our clients that drive their perception of value; it is what we do relative to what they expect us to do. Client expectations must be clearly understood, made specific, measurable and time sensitive, prioritized, then proactively managed to align with our resources and capabilities. This is a big and complex task, but it is at the heart of enlightened account management. When we fail to do this work and keep it current, our chances of failure multiply.
The pivotal revelation we have long advocated is that once we are clear on the client’s expectations, we must operate to consistently exceed them by “just a little bit”. As the Epley Gneezy research indicates, the client is not necessarily wowed by performance that dramatically exceeds them.
What they don’t say, that we do say and teach, is that when this happens, clients will legitimately raise their expectations to higher and possibly unsustainable levels, because of the experience we’ve just given them. We immediately become vulnerable to “The Expectations Paradox”. (See blogpost dated March 11, 2013 http://clientretention.com/the-blog/page/6/. Unless we are adept at managing their expectations through focused communication, our contract with this client that we have bent over backward to please, is now at risk. It is a paradox, it is counterintuitive and for once it flies in the face of common sense. But we ignore it at our own peril.
Last week we wrote about our words and our actions. This week Bloomberg Businessweek has given us another topical opportunity to demonstrate that our client communications play an equally critical role when they blend hand-in-hand with operational excellence.
Being good at what we do may not be enough to guarantee client retention, but going back to our blog title, it would be wrong to believe that “nobody cares”. Both the product and the process of our work unfailingly carry eternal significance and help us bring meaning to it (as opposed to trying to get meaning from the work).