Posted by: johnocunningham | April 18, 2013

What Makes a Great Service Provider?

First, let me apologize to regular readers of my blog for a two-week hiatus, during which I was traveling and generally “out of touch.” Now that I am back in my office, I am eager to write about a topic that has been brewing in my mind for a while – the essential elements of being a great service provider.

There are a few reasons that I find this topic fascinating and compelling:

  1. It is very relevant to my clients, who must compete for business in the professional service marketplace;
  2. It is hard to determine what makes a great service provider because the determination of what constitutes superior service is inherently subjective;
  3. It is increasingly important for professional service providers to render great service because ordinary service providers are just “commodities” competing at the lowest prices.

Determining what constitutes great service, in the abstract, is difficult. It is like sketching or painting without a model.

So I decided to write about superior service based on a contemporary role model who I know – the winner of this year’s Legal Marketing Association New England (“LMA-NE”) STAR Award, Deb Scaringi. The STAR Award is a recognition of the recipient’s outstanding service to LMA-NE and the community, and it has been given out to just one person per year since 2005.

I have known Deb longer than the STAR Award has been in existence, and during that time have made the following observations about what makes her a special service provider:

  1. She loves being a service provider and loves doing her best to help others achieve their goals. She is also genuinely excited for them when they do, and you can’t fake that.
  2. She always is mindful of others, trying to link clients and friends whenever possible with someone who can solve their problems or present them with opportunities.
  3. She is extremely knowledgeable about her industry, about the people in the industry, and about the tools of the industry, but she does not act like a “know it all.”
  4. She is a pleasure to work with, staying upbeat and energetic while being totally reliable because of her hard-wired super-conscientiousness.
  5. She is ethical and honest, providing her clients and friends with candid and accurate feedback when it is needed.

I am sure that this list is not complete, but it is emblematic of what I like most about Deb Scaringi as a professional colleague and friend. When I think back about other great service providers I have known, many of these same traits come to mind. It is hard to say exactly what makes for a great service provider or a great service experience, but I figure this “sketch” is a start. If you can think of a great role model for professional service, feel free to share your thoughts, and definitely tell the service provider what you think. It is a sad fact of life that clients, customers, and people in general take more time to complain about bad service than to applaud great service.

Disclosure: Deb Scaringi is not a client, but she is long-time colleague and friend.




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