A couple of months ago, I went into a craft shop, looking for a very specific item. I needed a pair of scissors sharp enough to cut card but small enough and rounded enough to be safely kept in a trouser pocket. (If you’re wondering why, they were for a magician friend. Enough said.) The shopkeeper showed me pair after pair, opening boxes, standing on ladders, doing whatever it took to find me the right scissors. When she finally unearthed the perfect implement for my friend’s purpose, I thanked her profusely for going to such trouble. “What a great place,” I thought. “A proper old-fashioned shop providing excellent service.”
But then she ruined it. “Well,” she said, “it’s a sale,” adding pointedly, “albeit a small one.” And it didn’t stop there. “If you go to our Facebook page,” she insisted, shoving a business card into my hand, “you can leave feedback about what good service you’ve had here.”
How quickly it had all unravelled. One minute I was full of enthusiasm for the shop, intending to recommend it to my friends and family, and the next I felt as if I’d been ripped off.
A few days ago, I experienced similar disillusionment at a course I’d been looking forward to for a while. The trainers had a lot of useful information to impart and I did learn quite a bit – but I don’t feel moved to recommend their course because it was all about them. They talked at length about themselves and their lives (the course could have been half the length without losing any of the content that actually benefited us trainees) and far too much emphasis was given to further training and products we could buy from them. One of the organisers asked me before the course had even started whether I’d like to book a time slot for afterwards to record a video testimonial.
Please, people, if you are providing a service, focus on the needs of the client, not your own. If you deliver above and beyond expectations, you will get your reward. It may not be immediate and it may not be direct but, rest assured, if you value your clients and do everything you can to facilitate their success, you will be rewarded with more than the satisfaction of a job well done (though this is not to be sneezed at). But once a client feels manipulated, there is no way to repair that.
‘Giving is its own reward’ is more than an adage to teach children generosity, it is a scientific fact. Delivering an effective training course, lecture, speech or presentation, one that really gives the audience what they need, feels great. Even if we’re concerned with more material reward than the rosy glow of having helped our clients, it will come – but not if we try to force it. Let your light shine for the benefit of others, without thinking about what you’ll get back. The rewards will be all the bigger and better for being natural and organic.
Photo credit: Bundo Kim on Unsplash