one step ahead of the shoe shine

As a professional who has worked in several highly direct client-driven set of industries, the words ‘client satisfaction’ are oft used to measure success. But to what lengths should an individual or a company go to keep the customer satisfied? No answers for now, just a few words of wisdom….

The old saying that the “customer is always right” really doesn’t provide much guidance on client satisfaction. And actually it does the customer a disservice. Much of the reason why the customer is purchasing (or potentially purchasing) a service or product from you, it is because they don’t have the skill set to complete it or create it themselves. Instead, I would propose that the motto should be the “customer may not always be right, but they always have the power.” It has helped lend me a new perspective on client interactions.

Yet, even with this “enlightened” frame of mind, customers will still go off the reservation and create headaches. So I offer another help to the situation and keep you focused on your task at hand:

It’s the same old story
Everyhwere I go,
I get slandered,
I hear words I never heard
In the Bible
And I’m one step ahead of the shoe shine ((There is no definitive interpretation of ‘shoe shine.’ I always that it akin to what a baseball coach does to an umpire when he doesn’t like a call: give him a ‘shoe shine’ by kicking dirt at the umpire.))
Two steps away from the county line
Just trying to keep my customers satisfied….. satisfied.

Nothing like a little folk music from Paul Simon to keep a smile on one’s face in even the most difficult of client situations. And the most important lyric puts it into perspective: you only have to be “one step” ahead,  not solve all of the client issues at once.( And, yes, I have been caught humming the tune to the song in the middle of one of these situations. )