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BLOGWho’s the Client?

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, ServiceTagged as:

Were you ever at a restaurant when the service was really terrible? You probably promised yourself that you would not go back. And when the service was absolutely top-notch? You probably rewarded the waiter or waitress with a big tip. Either way, if you were asked about the restaurant, you would have responded with your opinion, good or bad.

While you may not work in a restaurant (or even in a service business), it is a great paradigm for your workplace. In every relationship that you have, whether it be with your colleagues, clients, or suppliers, there is always a service relationship — just like the waiter-customer relationship in the restaurant. You do something for somebody. Somebody does something for you. But unlike the restaurant, the quality of your “service” is not reflected in a tip, but in your reputation and market value.

We forget about this service relationship concept because it gets obscured by day-to-day pressures. And it gets further obscured by some of today’s business terminology: partnerships, teams, task forces, etc.

To clarify your service relationships, trace your responsibilities through any intermediary roles, to the end client. For example, a purchasing manager serves the warehouse manager, who ships the product to the customer. A research analyst serves the broker who serves the client. Tracing this service chain backwards allows you to identify (and quantify) your impact in terms of the ultimate end client.

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When you are next given a task, confirm to yourself who the client is, their expectations, and how you will exceed their expectations. When the task is done, make a note of your impact: add it to your notes (and possibly your resume). When you always exceed expectations, your “client” will always have something nice to say about you – and will be a great source of referrals.

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