Listen up!

Oftentimes, it seems to me, providing good client service is as simple as letting the client know they’re being heard. I’ve noticed a couple examples of this lately in my out-of-office life.

The first was at a sushi place my husband and I order takeout from every week, Santa Monica’s Sushi Sho. We’re creatures of habit: Week in and week out, we get the same thing, with the exception of maybe a few items. The other day, the woman who regularly takes my order said to me, “Look, I’m going to just keep your basic order on the bulletin board here; that way when you call, you can just tell me what the changes are.” That impressed me. On one hand, it made things easier for her as much as it did for me. On the other hand, it made me feel like when I had been calling to place my order every week, I’d been talking not to some automaton, but to a real live person who had heard me, gotten to know me and my order, and now wanted to make things easier for us both.

Example two happened at the place I’ve been getting my bagels recently, New York Bagel and Deli (on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica). Whenever more than a couple people are in line, the employees make it a point to intermittently say things like, “We’ll be right with you,” and, “Thanks for your patience.” It’s a small but, I think, very nice gesture. Not only does it reduce any frustration the queued customers might be feeling, but it also gracefully acknowledges and expresses appreciation for the customers’ patronage and patience.

At Berbay, we try to let our clients know they’re being heard just by keeping them in the loop, even when the wheels are in motion but there isn’t much to report. We periodically reach out to clients merely to say, “Just wanted to let you know we’re working on this, and that it hasn’t fallen through the cracks. We’ll keep you up-to-date on the progress.” At the end of the day, showing clients you’re listening to them and you appreciate them, is as important in our line of work as it is in the bagel or sushi biz.

-By Berbay Principal Sharon Berman

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