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The Disconnect Between Customer Service and Client Servicing

As you start the new year, think about “how" you will interact, instead of only focusing on the task at hand.
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the disconnect between customer service and client servicing

We all have choices in life. Where do we eat? Where do we buy our vehicles? What is our favorite hotel? The list is virtually endless, and the criteria used to formulate these decisions can be evaluated in our brains in seconds.

This same phenomenon happens in business. Which vendors will I use? Which employee will I hire? Who will I promote? While we may tend to champion mediocrity to some degree with minor personal choices, this is typically not the case when our livelihood is considered. Because of this, the gap between customer service and client servicing becomes readily apparent.

Ritz-Carlton is widely regarded as one of the best when it comes to providing remarkable client experience. Motel 6 is not. Do both establishments provide you with a place to lay your head? Yes. Do both establishments have someone working at the front desk to get you checked in and checked out? Yes. But that is where any commonality ends.

Taking the opulence of the standard Ritz hotel out of the equation, let's focus on the one thing that can make your business, my business or any other business thrive: The people. From top to bottom, everyone at a Ritz-Carlton has one thing in common: It is expected that they will provide you with an unforgettable experience.

Everyone from the CEO down to the person who greets you in the valet line has an alignment of goals and values, which means the client experience with every interaction is congruent. The question is: Can this same mindset and culture be transferred to business-to-business relationships?

After spending the first 10 years of my adult life in the retail sector, I mastered what it took to keep a customer. Thanks to a decade of long hours, no weekends off and overtime during every holiday, I decided retail was not for me. However, what I didn't realize at the time was that I had gained a very valuable skill set.

This became evident to me a year and a half ago while I was talking with someone who is responsible for client servicing at a commercial insurance firm. “It doesn't matter whether someone is the smallest client or the largest, they shouldn't feel any different than the other," I said. “We should provide them with the same level of service."

“Small business doesn't have the revenue to support that level of servicing, so they will get the bare minimum based on what they pay," they replied. And that is the disconnect between customer service and client servicing. This person thought the two concepts were the same. But they are not.

To grow your business, you must first come to grips with the fact that client servicing is your job. My challenge is to set the tone for “how" we deal with our clients, not “what" we do for them. Placing insurance policies, processing endorsements and issuing certificates of insurance are boring, mundane tasks that we have automated as much as possible. But by doing this, we can focus on the how.

As you start the new year, think about “how" you will interact, instead of only focusing on the task at hand. Make it a point to go out of your way and find one client that you can interact with in a truly unforgettable way. Then, wash, rinse, repeat.

David R. Carothers is principal of Florida Risk Partners in Valrico, Florida, and owner of Killing Commercial

Thursday, February 1, 2024
Sales & Marketing
Digital Edition