Friday, May 27, 2011

Doctors or waiters?

How would you describe your company's approach to customer service? Is it a waiter or a doctor? The waiter is friendly and engaging, and after some small talk, takes your order on a pad of paper and disappears for while. Eventually your order arrives, and if you got what you asked for in a timely manner and the quality is good, you're happy.

When you go to a doctor's office with a complaint, the doctor takes some time trying to understand the issue. He or she may order some tests or consult with others before producing a diagnosis and prescribing some treatments. If you respond to treatment and the malady disappears, you're happy.

Of course, there are different kinds of happy. The doctor has provided a different level of professional service than the waiter, who took some simple orders and was reasonably pleasant and efficient in the process. Not surprisingly, the doctor charges a lot more for his or her expertise than the waiter. Can you imagine a doctor listening to you describe your symptoms briefly, then pulling out a pad of paper with a friendly, "OK, now tell me what drugs you want." You'd think the doctor was a fraud. Doctors are trained to understand and diagnose health problems. They aren't order takers, they're problem solvers. Waiters take orders.

So, how would you describe your company? Doctor or waiter? Problem solver or order taker? If you're an IT shop, it makes a big difference to what you can charge your customers.

No comments: