No Soup for You!

The “Soup Nazi” on Seinfeld illustrates poor customer service, but yet a great product. The storyline is that the chef was so fanatically focused on his culinary soup that he angrily refused to serve some customers. Many business do well despite themselves and how they treat their clients. But I think that’s changing.

There’s a Peruvian restaurant in Tampa I love to go to with very tasty seafood, meat and pasta dishes. However, the service is horrible. I actually look forward to seeing how bad the service can be, on par with the Soup Nazi. For some reason, the waitresses have a permanent scowl on their face. As I attempt to order, I’m likely to get an eye roll (disgust that I bothered to come into their restaurant) or a faux “it’s not that bad” facial expression (as I struggle with my Spanish).

Chick-fil-A is a textbook example of great customer service. Their training must be excellent and you’re likely to get a sincere “my pleasure” response to your thank you. It’s much better than the “no problem” response that you get from 95% of businesses. “No problem” is slightly better than a grunt acknowledgment. Clients can easily discern your authenticity and energy level.

What’s your recipe for success? What are the right ingredients for your business – people, process and products? Are you cooking at the right temperature? Too hot, then you might burnout your employees. Too cold, low productivity and competitively disadvantaged. Are you and your people providing good customer service internally to one another?

Many professionals, particularly valuation experts, are very good at their trade. However, sometimes we get lost in the analytical. The tactical. We forget sometimes that there’s a reader of our reports. With that in mind, we should endeavor to serve the very best valuation product and great customer service. Some suggestions below.

When talking to a bank chief appraiser:

Needs Work: “I need more appraisal work.”

Better: “Let me know how I can help you in your role as chief appraiser.”

When talking to an external reviewer:

Needs Work: “I guess my 120 page report wasn’t enough support.”

Better: “The following summarizes details of the revised report to expedite your review.”

When talking to one of your appraisers who didn’t do a great job on a report:

Needs Work: “Were you shaken as a baby?”

Better: “I’d like to meet with you next week to help you out with some concepts.”

Be fanatically focused on your valuation product AND customer service. Don’t pick one or the other. Take a look at your internal processes and how your appraisal firm handles client-facing communication. If you say, “no problem”, chances are it’s a problem. Everyone deserves your soup.