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  • James Porter

The Case of the Underwhelmed Client

Updated: May 15

Have you ever fallen victim to the assumption that the person selling to you is the person you'll be dealing with going forward?

I know I have, and I vividly recall the feeling of dissonance as you're passed on to someone you don't know.

The lead person was the show pony - the slick performer who convinces clients to place the order, and it’s extremely unlikely they’ll be the person doing the work - in fact you'll probably never see them again.

Have you ever been told that your trusted dentist or hairdresser has left and you've got the new kid, fresh out of college, a bit rough round the edges - but never mind, they're looking forward to testing their skills out on you.

Christ - no thanks … let me out of here!

New car servicing is another example. We expect our mechanic to be an expert, not a junior member of staff. But if you have a chance next time, take a look behind the plush reception area and free coffee. You're likely to see one experienced mechanic guiding an entire team of trainees who are actually doing the work.

Or how about when we are out for a meal and it's obvious the head chef isn’t in the kitchen that day, or the place is very busy and the staff are 'up the wall'. Are we ever proactively recompensed for sub-standard experience? Of course we're not.

In 'BigCo' land the tariffs are set in the belief that all customers receive a full and excellent service, but so often it falls well below expectations, and you're left feeling cheated.

But that isn’t the way it works in a small business, and it’s one of the reasons why businesses are called 'boutique' or 'niche'. So many people prefer them because the owner is usually the person doing the work!

That’s important because owners really care. They’re not about to ruin a reputation built up over many years by doing a third-rate job. A cosy restaurant owned and run by the chef, or a small garage run by an experienced mechanic generally means they're doing the work themselves, not sitting back and creaming off the profit, as the staff fail to cut the mustard.

So as a point of reflection - if you want a professional with their reputation on the line to do the work for you, look beyond the derelict and top heavy big players.

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