The Word that Delivers Perfect Customer Service

There’s a Portuguese word that fascinates me – Saudade.

That feeling of Saudade

It has no direct translation in English, it describes a distinct sense of longing for something that doesn’t actually exist – and is described as an ‘emptiness’ – like someone or something that should be there but missing – an absence you can feel.

Your prospects and customers are suffering from a form of saudade, the cure for which can be found in the 3 rules of customer service.

If you are unaware of the rules, let me start you off with Rule Number 1 – the rule that everyone seems to already know:

Treat others the way YOU want to be treated yourself.

Quite right – and so you should, it’s a fabulous place to start.

Unfortunately that’s exactly where most people also stop, which is a shame because….

Rule Number 2 explains that – as commendable as Rule Number 1 might be – it falls painfully short of the mark.


Because nobody else is YOU!

Which is why Rule Number 2 tells us;

We should treat other people the way that THEY want to be treated.

Which – if you think about it – might be completely different to the way we want to be treated ourselves.

Because of Rule Number 1, we’ve grown up believing that our requirements are the blueprint for everyone else’s customer service or sales experience.

But they’re not you!

What if they’ve frequently received a far superior level of service than you’ve ever been exposed to?

No one could expect a waiter or waitress who never stepped foot in a Michelin starred restaurant before getting a job in one – to draw from their own restaurant experiences and deliver the required level of service by simply putting on the uniform.

Most sales people are a little extrovert – many customers aren’t. Should we just expect the customer to adapt to us?

But Rule Number 3 goes even deeper.

The best explanation I’ve found is told by Bryan K Williams who calls it the Double Platinum Rule, which he describes brilliantly with this story;

A guy goes out to his car only to find that the front right tyre was stolen…completely gone!

So he puts the spare wheel on, and drives to the garage.

After explaining what had happened to the attendant, he proceeded to order a new tyre.

The attendant obliged and told him that it would arrive the following day.

On his way out, the manager stops him and asks if he got everything he needed. After telling him yes, he explained the wheel mishap and the manager asks,

So you’ve ordered the wheel locks, right?”

The customer has never heard of a wheel lock. The manager tells him that it prevents tyres from being stolen, and he should consider ordering some.

Of course he should – that’s a great idea – if he’d had them this morning none of this would have happened.

On his way out he goes to see the attendant that took the order, “Why didn’t you recommend the wheel locks?”

And the attendant says,

You didn’t ask!”

So, Rule Number 3 is;

Treat Other People the Way They Don’t Even Know They Need to be Treated Yet.

Which brings us right back round to your Customer’s Saudade!

They feel it all the time. The feeling you get when something isn’t right, but you don’t know what would make it better – just a distinct sense of longing for something that doesn’t appear to exist.

No amount of searching on the internet or meetings with your peers delivers the answer – because you don’t even know what you’re looking for.

It’s like feeling a dream you can’t quite remember.

And then an expert calls and books an appointment.

The discussion is filled with empathy and the problem is recognised and named.

They present the solution so that it is easily understood and then deliver it with precision and care.

Your prospects desperately need you to find them.

Just because they don’t recognise you as the answer to their problems right now shouldn’t put you off.

As the wonderful Zig Ziglar wrote;

Customers don’t change their mind. They make a new decision based on new information which produces a new feeling.”


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