If you’ve followed me through LinkedIn, you may notice I find inspiration for some of my posts listening to the priest during his homily. While I promise I am paying attention, my mind always seems to make great connections in the peaceful envelopment of Father’s words. The Sunday before last proved no different and even though I was visiting a different church, the lightening still struck! The homily focused on the difference between the day worker, the shepherd, and their commitment to the sheep.
The Day Worker
The day worker is just that, someone who shows up each day to earn his wages. He goes through the motions of feeding the sheep, walking them through the pastures, then ensuring they make it back to the barn before the sun sets, not so much because he cares about their well-being, but more so because that is his assigned duty. The day worker doesn’t speak to the sheep by name or know anything more about them than what he is told and that is fine by him since, either way, he still receives payment.
Since the sheep belong to the shepherd, he too tends to their daily needs by overseeing the day worker, ensuring they are fed and brought back at the end of the day, but the dedication to his sheep goes well beyond the expected basics. Not only does he tend to their daily needs of survival, but he also knows their nuances and understands when something is off in their actions, if they are sick, in pain, or about to give birth. The shepherd knows if part of his flock prefers to graze the northern pasture instead of the southern pasture and directs his day worker accordingly to lead them in the correct direction. At the end of they day the shepherd could simply do no more than the day worker, but he takes pride in his flock and has a sense of attachment to each sheep.
Go Beyond the Expected
We all know the person at work who simply shows up, does their job according to the parameters in their job description, shuts down at 5, and is content to simply collect a paycheck. This is our day worker. On the other side of the spectrum is the office shepherd…the person who is first in, last out, and spends an extra 10, 15 or even 45 minutes with a client to ensure they have exactly what they need, even if that means going outside the job description. When a client calls in, they know almost instantaneously if something is wrong because they are tuned in. We find our enviable client experiences in these unexpected moments of interaction where the shepherd went above and beyond to make the client feel as though they were something more than simply a name or number on a file. At the end of the day, the “shepherd” may take home the same pay as the “day worker”, but chances are they will realize more longevity in their career, experience higher client retention, and a greater sense of accomplishment through executing those simple moments showing a client they really are listening and are there to do more than their job.
Take the Time
Just as the shepherd tends his flock and pays attention to their individual needs, so to should you take the time to learn more about your clients than their basic product or service needs. The next time a client calls and you have the information necessary to inquire about a personal moment in their life (such as their daughter’s birthday), listen to their reaction and the subsequent dialogue that ensues and let me know if it is different than the last time you simply spoke to them about their account.