Which is more important - giving clients what they ask for or giving them what they want? To the uninitiated, this may look like it's a redundant question. It's the same thing, isn't it? Well, let me tell you - it's not even close.
We believe one of our key differentiating factors here at FPA is our level of professionalism. This isn't something that's natural to most "techs" (I hate using this word). It's a right brain, left brain thing. So, there's a whole huge learning curve most staff must go through when they come on board to rid them of their old habits.
We, FPA Management, spend tons of time (on a daily basis no less) working with our newer staff to teach them what makes clients happy. More importantly though, we spend time teaching them what makes clients "tick". Sometimes it seems so simple, but in reality customer service is really a subtle art. But for a company so bent on customer service as ours is, it seems like this is a constant never-ending battle.
Keep in mind, most "techs" just want to do. They just want to make things work, solve problems, or fix things. Second to this (or maybe even 5th or 6th down the list) is giving people what they want. A client may ask for something in particular to be done but all they really want is just for it to work. But, not being technical, they can't see the difference. And certainly can't communicate the difference. This is a scenario our staff run into all too often.
Our more senior staff all know how to handle this and those are the ones clients have the most comfort level with. The ones who don't "get it" respond with things like "Well I gave him what he asked for, why isn't he happy? What more could I have done?" This is when it becomes a teachable moment. It's not about what the client asks for, it's about what they want.
And when what they ask for isn't what they want, it can get ugly. The experienced consultant has the foresight to see through the fog of communication and know this and guide the client to a happy place - both with the technical result AND with the communication surrounding it. Wanting to do this (giving them what they want) actually forces one to step back from the task at hand (ie: the problem) and evaluate what is actually being asked for.
This is a pretty intuitive exercise. But it's something a consultant has to want to do. Unfortunately, without a certain amount of experience (and innate penchant for "customer service") this is a difficult path to navigate. That's where our senior staff jump in to help the junior ones.
Maybe I'm pulling back the curtains too much here, but I think it's important to note that high quality customer service is a constant struggle. It's certainly not easy. It means being on your toes all the time, for every client, with every interaction.
And while we recognize that we don't achieve the highest quality service every time, we do believe that aiming for it and holding each other accountable to it is something that does set us apart and, ultimately, does help us continue to provide better and better service.