Careful…are you listening?
Recently, I’ve been guilty of not listening. I have to admit that I enjoy being asked for my opinion and my expertise. I like being considered a resource for clients and associates and my ego swells with pride. But recently, I have been wrestling with a customer service issue – a subtle one that I think I’ve begun to understand. As a consultant, I’m asked to help diagnose problems and recommend solutions. But my intuition bells began to go off and I began to sense that my customers were not happy. If my customers aren’t happy, neither am I. I want the support I provide to them to help them solve problems and improve operations! I want to provide value!
So I’ve been mulling over this over these past few weeks and I think I have discovered a “truism” for consulting. One of the big lessons for those of us working with various projects and clients is to learn to keep our mouth shut. The truth is – in order to collaborate – you have to learn to review and consider a problem without becoming vested in one particular solution. And consulting should be all about collaboration. If it’s not, you are buying a standardized product not a solution that is developed together.
I made the mistake of thinking too much of myself. Though I have a great deal of experience with various business initiatives, if the customer chooses not to take a certain path, it is also part of my job to support the path they choose. And frankly, I’m a little ashamed of myself for forgetting my own values and standards.
I apologize to those customers who recently may not have received my best. And to support my efforts to re-enforce these values and standards, I’m implementing a money-back guarantee. If you aren’t completely satisfied with my efforts, you don’t have to pay me. It will remind me to mind my tongue.