This week, we closed on the sale of our house. Being the client was, of course, something of a role reversal for me. I came away with some client service lessons, however.
The real estate agent was great. Her whole operation was set up to make the process easy. I was impressed from start to finish. However, what impressed me the most was what happened right before the closing. During the pre-closing walk through, it was found that one of the outdoor faucets was leaking. (I suspect it had been for years.) The buyer was also bothered by my compost pile. Our agent just took care of both. There was no frantic call to us demanding it be addressed immediately. We were not even charged for what it cost to resolve these minor issues. That agent understood that her role was more than just connecting buyers and sellers.
The law firm handling the closing for us did not set such a great example. When I went to sign everything, I said we wanted the settlement proceeds wired to our account. The rather bored notary/receptionist told me that would incur a $75 fee. I pointed out that my firm wires money to clients all the time and we don’t charge. We have a deal with our bank where there is no fee for wire transfers and I would assume this firm did too. The response was a shrug and a remark to the effect that that was just how they do it.
What's ironic about the lawyer's office is that if their legal fee was $75 higher and included the wire transfer, I would not have cared a bit. Instead, I just felt annoyed.
What's noteworthy about these interactions is the reminder that clients - and that certainly includes clients in any sort of practice - really do not like feeling nickled and dimed.
The real estate agent understood this principle. She could have tossed the last minute closing issues into our lap. Contractually, she would have been in the right. She could have given us a bill. Even though neither would have been a big deal or significant expense, doing so would have irritated us - leaving us with a bad taste about the process and her service. For the small amount of money it took to effect a fix, she acquired good will worth far more. Smart client service. I would recommend her to anyone.
Take those extra steps for your clients. The small expense or effort is likley to pay off many fold.
Never annoy clients for no good reason.