The relationship between a client and a service provider can be wonderful, of no consequence, or a living hell. At the beginning, it's hard to tell how it will work out in the long run. If you are lucky, both parties are hoping for the best and are not expecting absolute perfection, as that is impossible to achieve in this universe.

What does it look like when it goes well?

How Do Your Clients Feel?
Let me tell you about my car. I love my aging beauty, a circa 2000 burgundy bundle of joy. I had it built way back when to my specs. That involved a wait of several months. But I wanted that car, not one off the lot.

What do your clients tell their friend about you and your company? After all the years since the project was done, do they still feel smart for having you work with them? Do they even remember how long it took for the job to get started or to get done? Or do they simply feel smart for having waited for you?

Do You Stay in Touch?
More often than not, I take a slightly longer way home from shopping because there is a section of road where I can go fast for a while. Driving this road provides a view of the mountains in the back of the town, with the sun in the background. I feel like I am more than just driving home. Instead, I am actually taking a ride for pleasure, albeit brief. In my car that brings me joy every time I walk up to it.

Do you visit your best past clients who had you help them make their house the home they wanted? For some, doing multiple projects spread over several years? What is it like having them walk you through their home? Are you pleasantly surprised by what they like in particular?

Do They Understand That Age Brings Change?
These last several years my car requires repairs annually, sometimes more expensive than others. What else can you expect from a car going on 20 years that has been driven regularly? To a great degree, I don't mind that. In fact, having a different car is hard for me to even consider!

Does your company take joy in a client calling up asking to have some aspect(s) of work done years ago repaired or improved on? Do you regard those calls as compliments or a pain in the butt? Would you rather they called someone else? Or do you value the relationship that makes them feel smart calling you for the help they need in maintaining what they had you create?

Great service experiences are remembered. The stories get told over and over again. With the passage of time, they become even more precious.

My car went over 150,000 miles a couple weeks ago. Virtually every mile was driven by me. There are a lot of stories connected with those miles. And I am looked forward to more tales to be told.

What stories do you want your clients to be telling? Given them good ones and they'll love you forever.