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"Are You Doing a Good Job?"

by Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"ô

(c) 2002, A Few Good People, Inc.


Iíll bet that you are really good at what you do. You are conscientious, creative, and hard working. You would never short-change your customers or give them less than 110 per cent. Right? RIGHT!

But do your customers know that? Do they know that you are on schedule, that you gave them something extra, that you did exactly what they wanted?

"Okay, Dave, what got you started on this one?" youíre probably asking.

We have some friends that hired a pet-sitter to take care of their two dogs and two cats while they were on vacation. When they returned, they found no evidence that their animals had been cared for as instructed. Medications looked as if they hadnít been touched. The supply of treats looked virtually the same as it had when they left. True, the animals were healthy and thatís the most important thing; to paraphrase Roseanne, "The animals were alive [when my friends got home], so the pet sitters did their job!"

From a business point of view, though, the pet sitters didnít do so well. The evidence suggests that they did a Ďpoorí job. Or was it just a case that there was no evidence that they did a Ďgoodí job?

Did they give the medications or didnít they? It looked like they didnít when, in fact, they did, and provided an extra service by picking up more. Did they give the treats as requested or didnít they? It looked like they didnít when, in fact, they did and provided an extra service by going to the store to buy more.

The word is perception. You may be doing a great service for your customers, but leaving them with a different perception of what youíve done.

I learned this lesson the hard way. As a programmer/consultant at a large medical facility I was given an important program to write. It was a critical component of a critical system that was supposed to be operational by a certain date. I worked on it mostly from home. My client didnít see me very often, and his perception was that I was goofing off; procrastinating until the last moment. As a result, his anxiety level was high, to put it mildly. In fact, I was doing a GREAT job for him, putting in extra time and even a few extra features.

My bad. I should have made a point of letting him know what I was doing so that he would feel comfortable in knowing what was going on. I could have done this in a number of ways both subtle and not-so-subtle. Subtle: "While I was working on this at home last night, I came up with a few questions." Not-so-subtle: "I know you havenít seen too much of me lately, but thatís because Iíve been working on this project at home. I didnít want you to think I was putting it off".

The point is this: if youíre doing a good job for your customers, make sure they know it!


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© Copyright 2003, A Few Good People, Inc.
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