WFH #3: Good service in bad times

Good service is about finding the common ground between what your customer’s trying to achieve and what you’re trying to achieve. 

That common ground is always there. It’s just sometimes obscured by things like margins and a desperate need for predictability. 

In bad times, that need for predictability takes on a new shape. 

In good times, predictability is about trusting the process. 

In bad times, predictability is about trusting the people executing the process. 

Because the fact of the matter is, none of the processes you paid for were built for a world in the middle of a pandemic, on it’s way to a recession. As we’re all learning every day, hardly any processes were. 

So all you’re left with is the people delivering the service.

How are they reacting to it? Are they panicking? Are they choosing their own self-interest over my own? I mean why the hell wouldn’t they?  

At moments like this you really find out how much common ground there is between the service provider’s interests and the service customer’s interests. 

Because moments like this, at their worst, are about the short term. Even if it’s at the expense of the long term. But good service – in good times and bad – is always about both.

If I don’t have your long term interests in mind, I can’t win your long term business. And if I can’t win your long term business, I don’t have a long term business. 

I’m writing this because some of you will have a service business. Some of you will have an as-a-service business. And some of you are customers of this service business. 

And it occurs to me that, as I wonder how many of those relationships will last the year, what really matters is what you predict we’re going to be like through the year. 

Are we going to try to bully you into spend that made sense two months ago but doesn’t matter anymore? Or are we going to tell you to pause and figure things out? 

Are we going to tell you everything’s going well right now? Or are we going to be real so you can be real with us? 

Are we going to snap at you for being a little unpredictable at an unpredictable time? Or are we going to give you a minute? 

There is no harder time to deliver good service than in bad times. 
There is no better time to deliver good service than in bad times.


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