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    (April 15, 2002) - In the very early days of interbiznet's existence, we delivered a seminar on "Customer Intimacy". (As you'll see, we keep ancient nearly embarrassing material in the archives.)  We were concerned then, as we are now, with the dismal level of service quality provided inside and outside of our industry.

    Service, in its most refined form, is the art of anticipating a customer's needs and satisfying them without having to ask. It involves occupying a position in which the customer is clearly superior and the service provider clearly of a lower status. It's not an accident of language that the terms "service" and "servant" share the same root. 

    A servant provides service.

    Political correctness aside, the 'servant' mentality is a question of working to understand the boss' needs and discovering ways to meet them. It requires an intimate understanding of the motives, desires and ambitions of the boss. While this makes treachery possible, the development of trust through the anticipation of customer needs is at the root of most really successful mid-sized consultancies. It's the essential element of growth and success for service companies.

    A trusted servant provides remarkable service.

    "Customer Intimacy" was shorthand for "Serving Customers More Effectively Through The Development of An Intimate Understanding". Although we were pleased to see the idea leap out into the economy, it appears to have lost some of its real meaning. When we initially published the seminar for web consumption, there were no "Customer Relationship Management" systems. There were no high-promise - low delivery bastardizations of the idea in our space. The original notion was that better service comes from a better understanding; that intimacy and trust were the goals.

    The fascinating thing about a customer-servant relationship is that it is not reciprocal in the ordinary sense. "Customer Intimacy" is a paradox, not a promise of equal standing. Customer Intimacy requires giving without direct getting at the service provider level of the game. The Customer pays for intimacy with money. The customer buys service.

    Between so called Relationship Management Systems (which remind you to send birthday cards and collect a 'dossier' on a customer) and the disparity in technical competence between suppliers and customers, the core idea of service seems to be lost. We wonder if customers ever hear a heartfelt "I want to understand what you are trying to accomplish." or "I'd like to understand your job better."

    Great recruiters do this with their candidates. Understanding the whole person in the candidate seat (the customer) is the essence of 21st Century Recruiting. With or without fancy products to manage the process, this is the name of the game. That, in huge quantities usually provides a lower quality experience for recruiter and customer alike.

    In the end, the Recruiter is a servant, perhaps a trusted servant. It's not a job that is easily executed. The customers come in two varieties (hiring authorities and candidates). Their needs are divergent and occasionally opposing. The best Recruiters deliver a constant stream of intimate service to a large pool of satisfied customers.

    - John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.


    Bernard HODES Group   because talent matters

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           Brought to you by Bernard Hodes Group. With over 30 years' experience providing breakthrough staffing solutions and recruitment communications, clients large and small look to us for strategic solutions for the Web-from career site development to response management technology.

    Put Hodes iQ to the test.
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    Contacting Us:
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    Copyright © 2013 interbiznet. All rights reserved.
    Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
    Mill Valley, CA 94941

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         Materials written
         by John Sumser
         © TwoColorHat.
         All Rights Reserved.