May 2008
You might imagine that my standards for client service are pretty high.  Those who know me best would disagree with "pretty high" and substitute "unreasonably high."  So I don’t have too many examples of being on the receiving end of great client service.  On those rare occasions, I want to share the experience by shouting it from the tops of mountains and, of course, sharing it here.

My friend-since-law-school, Kathy Erwin, heads the Chicago office of Counsel On Call, a contract lawyer placement firm.  COC’s differentiates itself by providing exceptional temporary talent.  Valorem has been the beneficiary of some unbelievably great placements.  Without getting into the nitty-gritty, I asked for something to be done in a way that was economically helpful for us, not so much so for COC.  I hit the send button and before my finger was even off the keyboard, Kathy responded with this:

   "However you want to work it is just fine, Pat. First and foremost, we want you happy."

No time spent thinking about it.  No calls to headquarters.  No number crunching.  No hand-wringing.  Just keep the customer happy.

Guess who’s happy.  Guess who earned lots of loyalty points.

If you don’t know this man, if you haven’t heard his "last lecture," I urge you (when you have 76 minutes) to grab a box of tissues and watch it

In this picture, we’re introduced to Sara Tucholsky (center) of Western Oregon University and Mallory Holtman (right) and Liz Wallace (left) of Central Washington University.  Sara hit her first home run in their game last Saturday–her first home run ever.  She missed first base and turned to go back to tag the base.  In doing so, she injured her knee and could not walk.  Under the rules, if any teammate touched her, she would be ruled out.  If she could not touch all the bases,  a pinch runner would be required and her hit would be ruled a single.

So what happened?  Holtman and Wallace confirmed with the umpire that there was no rule that prevented opposing players from aiding Tucholsky, and then picked her up and carried her around the bases, gently lowering her so she could touch each base.  Holtman and Wallace’s team lost the game 4-2.

What do these two stories have to do with client service?  Nothing, really.  But there are lessons about character and honor in these stories.  And those two traits influence every aspect of our lives.  But more importantly, I just wanted people to feel good today, and these two stories surely have that effect.