True story about service:
When I'm on the road and presenting at events, I often dine alone - grabbing a quick lunch or breakfast (something healthy) that will tide me over. Unlike other travelers, I tend to eat much healthier when I'm on the road (energy much be high!). Recently, I was at a mid-level family dining restaurant and ordered a standard Chicken Caesar Salad (it's my default/sure thing). The waitress asked me if I wanted some kind of bread (I could not make out what she saying over the music) or a soup. I said, I'd just like some bread with the salad. A few minutes later, a busboy arrives with my salad and this very intricate bread/melted/cheese/something appetizer and says, "you must be hungry!" I let him know that I must have made a mistake and that all I wanted was a little bread on the side of my salad. "No problem," he says after apologizing (even though this was clearly my fault) and returns with some bread. My iPad is on the table, I'm neck deep in emails, etc... when the waitress comes by and asks what happened. I explain to her the story, she apologizes, I apologize and I put my head back down into the work. Two minutes later, the manager comes over and asks me if there was a problem with my bread appetizer. I explain to him the story, he apologizes, I apologize and I put my head back down into the work. A couple of minutes later, the waitress comes back to apologize that the manager came over all well. I flip my iPad cover over, stash it back in my briefcase, quickly work through lunch and leave.
Over-service can be a huge disservice.
Many years ago, I was dining at a fancy restaurant with a friend who was a regular at this place. After dinner, we went out for a stroll to walk off the hearty meal. He asked me what I thought of the restaurant. I commented, that it was amazing to me that every time I went to drink some water, it was as if my glass was magically refilled without my knowledge. My friend, the restaurateur, responded: "the best service is when the service is almost invisible. The best service is when all of your needs are met and you don't even have to mention what those needs are."
We are all in the business of service.
As a Digital Marketing agency, this is primary function we serve at Twist Image: to serve our clients needs. Beyond that, this Blog acts as a service to the readers and people who comment. My Twitter acts as a service to those who are interested in connecting to me. Everything you do is a service too. Over-service can be a disservice and the best results come from those who can balance the unique and personal needs of the people they are connected with. Understanding that pulse and flow of what the needs are and how to meet them is not always something that can be systemized. Servicing the people you are connected to is a very gentle and intricate art that requires both practice and being able to read a situation better than your peers and competitors. There are many instances that resemble my Chicken Caser scenario: sometimes when you think you're doing the right thing and being kind, it's really just exacerbating a situation. This type of prodding often happens in Social Media spaces as well, where individuals feel the need to either get the last word in, be a gadfly or persist that their side is the one that must be heard loudest.
Service is key to being successful, but the true success comes in understanding how to do it in a way that brings people closer to your brand... and not further away.