These words are firmly implanted as I listen to my new “friend”, the technician assigned to me as I take my brand new car into the dealer for the first “check up”. Yes, after 15 years with my trusty Penelope, she left me for the brighter side, and I traded up for more technology in a vehicle than I ever imagined. The creativity and innovation in the world of cars astounded me as I shopped for one to replace her.

Here I am. With a car that has 1,500 miles on it, brakes that are intermittent, along with a number of other things that are on or off randomly. I make the appointment, list my concerns, and leave Suzi with them. End of day 1 – no call, no update. Customer service fail. Or so I decide.
Mid-morning of day 2 – call says everything is ready and I can pick her up. I arrive at the dealer to hear these words, “operating as designed” repeated over and over. I inquire about the brake failures; the response is “operating as designed”. Hmmm. I inquire about the trouble opening the hatch; the response is “operating as designed”. I can list more, and two is enough!

Now, let’s be clear. What I heard, and what the response was, are two different things. You know the response, I just told you. What I heard was – “Look lady, you don’t know what you are talking about.” I’m guessing one or two of you have been in this place when it comes to customer service.

Creativity and customer service. That’s where my mind went as I drove off the lot (well, my mind also went a few other places I won’t digress into here…). How do we create client service in a manner that allows for creativity in the interface? I’m not suggesting you have your legal assistants offering legal advice, nor car salesman to offer maintenance advice. What if your team was empowered to wow your clients? What if this gentleman had walked me out to my car and then walked me through what he sees as common errors in user interface? What a different experience, right?

Create the client experience you want to have. Create it every day with how you treat your internal clients. And then empower them to create that experience with the firm clients. Let’s raise the bar, and our firm’s bar right along with it!