In a previous newsletter I told you about a business partner that was making it tough to love them because we were paying the price for their growth through mistakes, lack of attention to detail, and dropped balls.

That triggered a series of emails from some of our other partners who asked, “was that about us?”  The answer in all cases was no because I had forewarned the partner who inspired the article so they already knew.  But the fact that so many had to ask got me thinking.

A few thoughts… 

If you aren’t 100% positive that your clients are happy, you should ask.  Ideally, through a third-party who can get past the “I don’t want to hurt your feelings” stage but even if you ask them yourself — don’t wait until you get some hint of trouble like a purposefully vague newsletter article.

When you hear “everything is okay” the translation is everything is actually not okay.  It means there’s room for improvement. You’re at risk if you are okay.  Dig deeper into any “okay” or “fine” responses you get. You want an ecstatic response, not a lukewarm one.  Okay is lukewarm at best.

As Maya Angelou said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  

Man, does that matter.  You can do everything well or right and if your client doesn’t believe you genuinely care about them and their business, it isn’t enough.  On the flip side — when your client does know how much you care, you earn a lot of grace for when things do not go according to plan.

Does your team know what that actually looks like?  Do they know how to create a sense of caring and connection with their clients?  I think sometimes we send mixed messages to our team.  We beat the drum about billable hours and not over-servicing the clients and then we ask them to create a relationship with that same client.  You can’t charge a client for the time spent connecting with them. And you can’t make them feel valued if your hand is always in their pocket.

Pull your team other and let them learn from each other.  Pose the question “how do you help our clients see that you genuinely care about them and their business successes?”  My guess is you aren’t going to be overly excited by their responses.  That creates a teachable moment or series of moments for you.

We are entering the month of December.  What better time to have that conversation with your team?  Are your clients thankful for you?

This was originally published in the weekly AMI newsletter.  To subscribe, click here.